The Parish Council approved the introduction of four proposed ordinances geared towards fixing the deplorable road system in Natchitoches Parish at its meeting June 18. All of the Council members voted for the introduction, except for Chris Paige, who voted against each ordinance.
This is a tax proposition for the creation of four independent road districts. When this proposition was originally brought before the Council at its July 17, 2017 meeting, three of the five Parish Council members chose to vote it down. (SEE BELOW)
If the Council approves these ordinances at its July, 2018 meeting, it will then go on a ballot for residents to vote on. The money generated by this tax would only be spent in the area it was generated in. So any districts that don’t get approved would only have the money from the general highway fund and the road district 40 fund.
The Council also approved the hiring of Bobby Hughes as the Director of Public Works with a salary of $65,000 annually. Hughes has extensive experience in highway construction in Texas and Sabine Parish. Earl Townsend will remain with the Parish during the transition period.
In other business, a resolution passed to authorize the Parish President Rick Nowlin to submit up to three applications for federal funding of Parish Highway improvement projects under the new federal BUILD infrastructure program, and to commit the Parish to the provision of local matching funds up to 25% of each estimated project cost for each application.
Roads chosen include: Harmony, Bermuda and Pardee, which collectively are approximately $5 million. There is $1.5 billion funding available nationwide, so the program will be competitive. Nowlin said he will prepare detailed project cost estimates and decide if the Parish can put up a local match, which is one of the scoring criteria the projects are judged on. Other criteria includes safety hazards, road conditions, daily traffic, and current maintenance cost versus projected reductions once repaired.
In the world of roads, the construction contract for Hampton Road is expected to be awarded at the Aug. 20 meeting. A reconstruction conference will be held for Coco Bed Road June 22 and the contractor will be issued the notice to proceed. The state capital outlay includes $280,000 for the project and the Parish match is approximately $94,000. Plans for Payne Subdivision Streets (Phase I) are nearing completion. Blanchard Road is awaiting an execution of an amendment to a cooperative endeavor agreement with Facility Planning and Control to restore $280,000 in state capital outlay funding that was removed from the project last year. As soon as this happens, the Parish will proceed with the engineering services phase of the project.
Other agenda items included:
Revision to the Operating Budget for Government Building- Handicap Ramp and Bathrooms at Courthouse
Introduction of ordinance to declare the intent of the Parish to terminate the use of the Shady Grove Community Center and return the property to the Shady Grove Missionary Baptist Church
Execute Quit Claim Deed
Reduce speed on Clark Loop Road to 15 MPH
Approve Head Start COLA that will be retro to March 1, 2018 in the amount of $60,525 to include: administration 3%, teachers 3%, coordinators 3%, teacher aides 3.5%, cook techs 3.5%, and mentor coach at Full-Time
Approve Head Start self assessment submission to Dallas
Approve Head Start items for salvage
Approve Head Start credit card purchases
Approve Head Start monthly financials from the Policy Council meetings
Approve Head Start 2018-19 school year calendar
Raise rent for Chalres Cloud, who houses a dump site on his property in Goldonna, equal to the amount paid to other land owners (an additional $800 to bring him from $1,200 to $2,000.
Approve surplus of chairs from government buildings
Approve surplus of scrap iron from road maintenance
The next Parish Council meeting is moved from July 18 to July 23.