The award recognizes good stewardship of ground water resources and is presented annually by the Capital Area Ground Water Conservation Commission District.
Bankston was the first chairman of the commission, organized in 1975. Past award winners include ExxonMobil, Georgia Pacific and Honeywell.
Commission Chairman Jake Causey made the presentation and accompanied by Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Peggy Hatch and DEQ Deputy Secretary Alex Appeaning.
Previously residents paid a flat rate with no incentive to conserve water. Some ran sprinklers atop their roofs in an effort to lower utility bills. Others continuously ran water through their swimming pools rather than buy pool chemicals. With meters residents now monitor their water usage and are conserving an average of 21 million gallons of water a month.
“Projects like the water meter project in Baker encourage people to be aware of their water usage and DEQ was pleased to play a part in this success story.
“Prudent use of water and the conservation of this valuable natural resource need to be rewarded. The more aware people are of their environment, the better the environment will become,” Hatch said.
In other business:
EROSION PROBLEM: Councilman Charles Vincent reported meeting in Washington, D.C., with staff members of Senators Mary Landrieu and David Vitter concerning erosion problems on the Baker Canal and Cypress Bayou.
"The erosion has been a problem for past mayors and councils and the seriousness of the situation cannot be overstated," Councilman Pete Heine said at the Sept. 11 council meeting.
The canal was lined with concrete in the ‘60s and sinkholes have since encroached to within 30 feet of some homes, Heine said.
BAKER ON TV: Rideau recognized Lucas Fry, general manager of MeTV. The station plans to air “Baker Forward” at 6:30 p.m., on Thursdays, with participation from the mayor, police chief, fire chief and Chamber of Commerce.
SICKLE CELL ANEMIA: A proclamation was accepted declaring Sept. 26 as Demond Thomas Jr. Day in Baker. Demond, 5, was born with sickle cell and is a patient at St. Jude Baton Rouge Affiliate Clinic. His Team Demond had the most members (64) in the Baton Rouge Sickle Cell Community Walk in August.
RECYCLING: Charles Crittenden, 6505 East Myrtle St., suggested at the last meeting that the city do more to promote recycling. Many residents are not aware that such a program exists, he said.
Councilwoman Joyce Burges initiated a proclamation naming November Recycling Awareness Month and plans to have materials available for distribution at the Oct. 9 meeting.
ALCOHOL BEVERAGE CONTROL BOARD: The council accepted Councilman Robert Young’s appointment of Willie Williams Jr., 14005 Longvue Drive, to the ABC Board.
CHILDREN TO WORK: Burges originated a resolution to teach children a work ethic through education and role models. The initiative brings together parents, business and community leaders to instill in the children standards and values to shape their future.
POLICE REIMBURSEMENT: Police Chief Mike “Snapper” Knaps reported that the police department will receive 100 percent reimbursement from Family Services for the security and traffic control services provided at the old Walmart on Plank Road.
The Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program set up an office there for several days to issue food stamps to qualified residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac.
MID-SIZE CITIES CONFERENCE: Baker, Central and Zachary will host the Mid-Size Cities Conference Oct. 11-12 at the Greenwood Park clubhouse, Rideau said.
BUS SHELTERS: CATS and CRPC has agreed to erect a bus shelter at Main Street and Groom Road and at Main Street and Ray Weiland Drive, Rideau said.