Problems with fire district will be submitted to state agencies

Parish Council April 17

Chris Posey came before the Parish Council meeting Monday night, April 17, to see what progress was made regarding Fire District 1 in Cloutierville. Allegations against the Fire District were made at a December meeting. Members came before the Council in January to refute them. Rick Nowlin, Patsy Ward Hoover and Russell Rachal agreed to form an advisory committee and look into the matter.

After meeting March 31 with newly appointed Fire District 1 Board Chairman Harry Hawthorne, who compiled financial and operational records for the advisory committee, Nowlin said the committee saw things that caused them some concern.

“We need to handle this carefully,” he said. “But we’ve seen enough to suggest that there’s a problem.”

The information and committee findings will be submitted to the appropriate authorities (District Attorney, Board of Ethics and Legislative Auditor). Any further discussion will have to be saved for an executive session until an opinion is rendered by the afore mentioned authorities.

In other business the meeting ran smoothly. The Council members were focused on keeping the meeting streamlined, even though the agenda had over 30 items on it.

Visitor Randy Stelly asked that the Council conduct itself in a more professional manner than it did at last month’s meeting, which he said he watched via a live stream. He said the meeting are too long and that inappropriate behavior can cause scouts looking to bring businesses to Natchitoches to steer clear of the Parish.

An ordinance failed to pass because there was no motion from a Council member. This was because the representative from the District Attorney’s Office said the ordinance (add a 3 percent COLA increase for Parish employees) was illegal on its face. The Council doesn’t have the authority to amend an adopted budget unless there are specific circumstances involved.

Another ordinance for introduction (scarify King Hill and Sisson Roads) was tabled because the DA Rep said a resolution would be appropriate. An ordinance is only required if the road’s direction or location is changing. A resolution will be voted on at next month’s meeting.

A third ordinance (amend Parish Zoning Ordinance relative to uses requiring planning commission approval in I-A districts) died for lack of a second.

Ordinances introduced:
·      Quitclaim deed on Lot 1 and South half of Lot 2 of Block DA of Breda addition from the Parish to Robert Jackson Sr.
·      Amend section of the Parish Council Code of Ordinance (requirements for Parish Council meeting)
·      Add solid waste scale house attendant and salary range to the job description in the Natchitoches Parish Personnel Manual
·      Remove job requirements of engineer and engineer duties from the Director of Public Works job description

Other agenda items:
·      2017 budget revision for highway to the line items bottom ash, disaster recovery and LGAP
·      Adopt millage rates for the 2017 tax year to remain the same
·      Adopt proclamation declaring April 17-22 as National Community Development Week
·      Adopt proclamation declaring April as Fair Housing Month
·      Adopt proclamation declaring May 7-13 as National Travel and Tourism Week
·      Approve election in Fire Protection District No. 1 on Saturday, Oct. 14 to authorize the levy of a special tax therein
·      Award lease of rubber-tire tractor/loader/backhoe to Doggett Machinery Services of Shreveport for a John Deere Model 310L at $1,062 monthly for 36 months
·      Award LGAP pavement patching project to Lites Bros. Asphalt Inc. of Many for $160 per ton
·      Approve a Citizen Participation Plan/Citizen Complaint Procedure be adopted and Debbie Miley be appointed as Citizen Complaint Officer for compliance with the LCDBG Program
·      Proceed with development of the LCDBG application
·      Approve procurement policy be adopted for compliance with the LCDBG Program
·      Proceed with the procurement and selection of professional services to assist in the development of the LCDBG application and implementation of the project
·      Authorize Parish President to award contract for bottom ash to the lowest bidder meeting bid specifications
·      Authorize Parish Treasurer to seek accounting software proposals
·      Reappoint Bobby Outlaw Sr. and James Wagley to the Fire District 10 Board