The Parish Council appointed and reappointed several citizens to various boards at its meeting Monday night, Nov. 20. All but one were approved without discussion. The appointments passed were Kathy Carter and Arshundae Perry to the Natchitoches Parish Children and Youth Planning Board and Jill Morgan to the Natchitoches Parish Planning and Zoning Commission. Travis Guin was re-appointed to the P&Z Commission. William Dowden III and Marc Custis were re-appointed to the Natchitoches Parish Fire District 4.
The re-appointment of Vanue LaCour to the P&Z Commission was vehemently opposed by Director of Planning and Zoning Greg Lemoine. “Our work relationship has been contentious since the first day,” he said. “I do not want to work with this man anymore and I strongly urge the Council not to re-appoint him.”
Councilman Chris Paige said he found it distasteful to hear Greg bringing up his issues with LaCour and Parish President Rick Nowlin said he felt comfortable with the reappointment. However, when it came to a vote, Mr. LaCour’s reappointment died for lack of a second.
Tensions escalated at another point in the meeting, when Council members Rodney Bedgood, Paige and Patsy Ward Hoover voted down the adoption of the 2018 budget.
It all began when Councilman Doug de Graffenried proposed several amendments to the adoption of the ordinance for the 2018 budget.
Adjustments to line items for expenditures, whether by an increase or decrease, within any fund shall be restricted to not more than 10% cumulatively. Additional adjustments beyond the 10% shall require a budget amendment and council approval.
Any employee receiving a pay increase exceeding 4% since Aug. 31 shall not benefit from a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA).
Any employee who has received a pay increase exceeding 4% since Aug. 31 shall not qualify for an increase in pay during Fiscal Year 2018.
Council members passed the first amendment (Paige voted no). Bedgood, Hoover and Paige voted against the second and third amendments. It then seemed like no one really knew what they were voting on anymore and in a state of confusion Bedgood, Hoover and Paige voted down the 2018 budget.
When the error was realized, Paige quickly made a motion to reconsider. The 2018 budget was brought back to the table and passed with a unanimous vote from the Council.
Other agenda items included:
Introduction of ordinance to change zoning classification of a 34.683 acre parcel on Fulton Street from I-A Industry-Agricultural to R-1 Residence District for single family residences. Rhodes Property and Development is in the process of developing a subdivision on this land, but hasn’t decided on lot size or any other specifics at this time.
Introduction of an ordinance to make amendments to the 2017 Operating Budget
Change Jan. 15 meeting to Jan. 22 in observance of MLK Day
Change Feb. 19 meeting to Feb. 20 in observance of President’s Day
Allow Head Start Centers to close Friday, Feb. 1 so teachers can participate in training
Enter into a Professional Services Agreement with CivicSource for the administration of an online auction and sale of adjudicated properties