New Parish Council Chair elected, ordinance to expand bridge repair contract dies

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The first order of business at the Parish Council meeting Tuesday night, Jan. 17, was the election of officers. Patsy Ward Hoover was elected the new council chair. Rodney Bedgood was elected as the vice-chair.

The Council tabled an item to consider adopting an ordinance giving authorization to the Parish President to enter into an agreement with the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office for the sale of the Parish building at 415 Trudeau St. and a certain parking lot. The NPSO approached Nowlin about the vacant building, which appraised for $114,500. The empty lot appraised for $26,000. A representative for the District Attorney’s office advised that the Council’s vote be tabled until they could properly advertise the property, write an appropriate ordinance and provide information to the public regarding the sale.

While there were several residents in the audience who spoke about the deplorable condition of Pardee Road, one agenda item pertaining to bridges in the Parish died for lack of a second. The item called for the Council to consider authorizing the expansion of the previously authorized bridge repair contract to include the repair of additional deficiencies that may be identified during the 2017 DOTD bridge inspections.

Highway Director Nick Verret said that if the Council expects work be done to maintain the roads and, in this case, the bridges in the Parish, he expects the Council members to provide adequate resources.

The Council authorized the Parish President at its October meeting to contract for the repair of bridges with deficiencies that were identified during the required interim inspections during 2016. DOTD has scheduled its in-depth inspections of all the bridges in the Parish system January-March. These inspections may result in the identification of additional deficiencies that must be addressed in a timely manner to keep bridges open to traffic or to maintain their current load posting.

Other agenda items included:

Award bids for grader blades

Authorize the Parish Treasurer to submit an in-kind waiver for a Head Start grant up to $175,000. The federal government requires the local program to provide matching funds to the Parish, unless the Parish provides a waiver.

Authorize Parish President to execute a revised lease agreement between Donny Whitehead for the polling place in Vowells Mill for $1,000 per year.

Announce Winston Bridges as the new Building and Maintenance Supervisor

Reduce speed limit on Willie Banes Road from 35 mph to 20

Adopt resolution ordering and calling an election to be held in Natchitoches Parish Fire District 1 continuation of an ad valorem tax March 25

Adopt resolution stating that the matching funds for the State Capital Outlay project to resurface Fish Hatchery Road in the amount of $93,333 (25 percent of project cost or 1/3 of state funding) have been included in the 2017 Highway budget and that the Council commits the funds to this project

Introduce ordinance to add part-time parish engineer paid an hourly rate as needed to the job description of the Parish Personnel Manual

Introduce ordinance to remove engineering duties/responsibilities off Director of Public Works job description in Parish Personnel Manual