The Parish Council meeting Monday night, April 16, began with the adoption of a resolution honoring St. Mary’s Boys and Girls Basketball Teams for their outstanding 2018 Basketball Seasons. Resolutions will be presented the the Boys and Girls Basketball Teams for Natchitoches Central and Lakeview at a later date.
Head coaches for St. Mary’s Basketball Teams are Jason Kern and Tom Collins. Coach Kern and the Tigers made it all the way to the Division IV title game. Coach Collins and the Lady Tigers made it to the quarter-finals round of the playoffs. The resolution recognizes these athletes hard work, dedication, and perseverance. Their excellent performance, dedication, and commitment, along with their coaching staffs, have proven to be a source of admiration and inspiration to the Parish of Natchitoches.
The introduction of a proposed ordinance by Council member Patsy Ward-Hoover failed by a 3-2 vote. The ordinance was to amend and preordain Section 2-8 of the Parish Code of Ordinances, relative to the order of business for parish council meetings. This would have amended the current 3 minute time limit for guest speakers to an unlimited amount of time. While Hoover and fellow Council member Chris Paige are inclined to let the public speak for any length of time at the Council meetings, Russell Rachal, Doug de Graffenried and Rodney Bedgood voted against the introduction of the ordinance. The School Board and City Council have time limits for public comments at their meetings. This is less not wanting to hear their constituents and more about holding a timely meeting.
Other agenda items included:
- Authorize Parish President to reject the bid on the Courthouse Handicap Ramp and Restroom Modifications. Bids were opened March 29 and only one bid was received. It was significantly higher than the amount of funds budgeted for this project. It will be re-advertised following its redesign to lower the cost.
- Allow the people of Natchitoches Parish to vote and make their own decision on whether they want to remain with the current form of government (the Home Rule Charter) or change it back to the Police Jury. This ordinance would also allow the proposed referendum to the voters during the November 6 Open Primary/Congressional elections.
- Add Section 2-10 to the Parish Code of Ordinances, relative to the removal of appointees to boards and commissions. People are appointed, but often refuse to show up, so this ordinance would require secretaries for the boards and commissions to take attendance at the meetings and provide the Council with an annual report. Anyone missing more than 50% of the meetings in a calendar year would be eligible for removal.
- Adopt ordinance 002-2018 for budget revisions to the 2018 operating budget to the general fund, highway department, solid waste, sales tax, Hampton Road and CoCo Bed Road
- Declare April 2018 as Fair Housing Month
- Proclaim May 6-12 as National Travel and Tourism Week in the Parish
- Support the approval for LA DOTD to have a design exemption for the use of a tapered concrete barrier rail in lieu of using a 75 foot guard rail at the North side of the Western approach slab at the Good Hope Road Bridge
- Approve design exemption for the Clark Road Bridge to use a normal crown roadway at the site, in lieu of a super-elevated section which would have required more right-of-way and increased the project length
- Authorize Parish President to sign an agreement with the LSU Ag Center to support and administer Louisiana Cooperative Units off campus
- Execute and sign an agreement with SYGNVS for the installation of the new accounting software including training
- Issue a Notice of Award and execute a contract with Merrick LLC in Cottonport for the construction and improvements to CoCo Bed Road in the amount of $332,494