Parish Council Meeting Heats Up Over Grant for Payne Sewer System

By Rickey Lacour

The Parish Council argued over Ordinance #019-2019 at its meeting Monday night, Jan. 27. The debate was about whether the Council should adopt said ordinance authorizing the acceptance by the Parish of Natchitoches of a donation by Total Environmental Systems, Inc. of the Payne Sewer System. An identical ordinance died for lack of a second at the Council’s Nov. 19 meeting.

The approval of this ordinance would be the first step in accepting a grant of approximately $750,000 that would allow the parish to set up a committee to oversee the Payne Sewer System.

Residents in the Payne Subdivision area have experienced blockages and sewage backup into their homes.

Newly appointed Council Chairman John Salter said he felt the amount for the grant is clearly not enough to fix the problem. “I’d like to go out there and assess the issue myself and see what we’re looking at, then we can vote on this,” he added.

Council Member Chris Paige disagreed. “We’ve been putting this off for months now,” he argued. “All we’re trying to do is get approval for the grant so we can set up a committee. These people have been waiting too long.”

Council Member Patsy Ward-Hoover chimed in about the insufficiency of the amount by saying, “That’s just enough to put a band aid on the issue.”

Several subdivision residents echoed the same message. They need this ordinance to be approved sooner rather than later as the Parish is at risk of losing the grant if it doesn’t act fast enough.

Hoover moved to table the vote until after the assessment had been done and the Council decided to hold a Special Called Meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 30 at 5:30 pm to make a decision. The meeting will be held in the Parish Council Meeting Room on the 2nd floor of the Natchitoches Parish Courthouse, room 211. For any questions about the special called meeting, contact the Parish Government offices at 318.352.2714.

Special Called Meeting has been set – Read More Here https://wp.me/p5VQCS-jx3

Agenda item:
Council to consider adoption of Ordinance 019-2019 authorizing the acceptance by the Parish of Natchitoches of a donation by Total Environmental Systems, Inc. of the Payne Sewer System to the parish and authorizing the Parish President to execute all documents in connection therewith, upon the advice of the District Attorney.

Other items on Monday night’s agenda:

Adopt Ordinance 20-2019 to introduce adopting and enacting a new code for the Natchitoches Parish Code of Ordinances; providing for the repeal of certain Ordinances not included therein; providing a penalty for the violation thereof; providing for the manner of amending such code; and providing when such code and this Ordinance shall become effective.

Adopt Ordinance 21-2019 to remove approximately 0.59 miles in length of the Mink-Hutton Rd., up to the Parish line from the Natchitoches Parish Road System.

Appoint Mr. Johnny Salard as the Interim Director of the Department of Public Works until the search for a permanent Director is conducted. – Passed

Council named Paige and Kilcoyne to be on the search committee for a new Director and Assistant Director of Public Works. – Passed

Authorize the Parish President to sign and execute an agreement with Hope for Paws and Natchitoches Humane Society for the reimbursement of expenses incurred through their spay and neuter programs. – Passed

Approve a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement between the Parish of Natchitoches and the Department of Veterans Affairs for the joint funding of the of the local VA office during the period from January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. The Parish’s share of the cost would be $3,558, or $296 per month. – Passed

Add Cyber Security Insurance to the Parish’s Insurance. Awarded to Travelers. – Passed

Award bids for certain highway materials and the reject bids for other highway materials. – Passed

Change the February meeting from the 17th to the 24th. – Passed

Have a Legislative Audit done on the financial records for the Parish of Natchitoches. – Failed 3 to 2


11 thoughts on “Parish Council Meeting Heats Up Over Grant for Payne Sewer System

  1. Even though someone else mentioned it why is it the Parish’s responsibility to take over the sewer system? We don’t have enough money in the budget to fix the roads and now we are going to take over this mess? If the Parish is going to get involved in sanitary sewers I want them to maintain my septic plant. There should be ordinances passed in the City and Parish that developers are responsible for the building and maintenance of these systems. In Texas they call them Municipal Utility Districts and those owning property and houses in them are responsible for paying for their system. Yeah I know it won’t happen because everyone in this parish wants someone else to pay for it. By the way is this the same Mr. Salter that sold all of the Police Jury road equipment when he was in office? I apologize if my memory does not serve.

  2. Why should the City pay for it that subdivision it’s not in the City limits, it’s also been there 50 years why haven’t those people been talking care of there systems, oh i see they want the TAX payers to do it

    • In my on-going effort to be transparent I would like to address this question, as other residents have also asked about this.

      I voted NO on this motion. Here’s why, the motion was to request a special legislative audit of the Parish Government’s books, finances, operations. To do so the Parish Council would have to make a specific request to look at ________ (fill in the blank). You cannot simply ask for a general audit. Also, the parish government is subject to an annual legislative audit, which is underway right now. This occurs every year. For the most part the auditors find only minor “infractions” and work with the parish government to make corrections/improvements. These are called “findings.”

      As a new councilman I have no current concerns about the parish government’s 2019 operations beyond that which I know the current audit will identify. IF something “big” turns up as a result of this annual audit I will lead the charge to have it further investigated, if warranted.

      I hope that clarifies why I voted NO to request a special legislative audit.

  3. Have a Legislative Audit done on the financial records for the Parish of Natchitoches. – Failed 3 to 2
    Why would you not want an audit? I’d like to see who voted no. And why?

  4. I think the problem with the sewer system in Payne Subdivision is basically the same as a lot of other problems we have right now. Poor planning or no planning right from the beginning. Who was responsible for the planning and development of the subdivision? In most cities, when a piece of land is developed and there are plans for a subdivision, streets are laid out, sewers are laid out, surveys are done, and lots are divided to be sold. Now I may not be using all the proper terms here, but I do know that the developer is the one who has the responsibility of making sure these things are done, and they all have to meet certain standards. So, what I would like to know is, who developed that subdivision? Was it Natchitoches Parish? If so, why is the parish in the business of developing subdivisions, as that is not their job, they should only be giving the ok to a developer to go ahead with a project if all items have met the requirements needed. If a developer drew up the plans and had the streets and sewer system approved because they met rigid standards, then the developer would would have to step up and be held accountable for shoddy work. Now if I’m wrong in my thoughts on this, please explain the system in Natchitoches Parish for development. The one thing I do know, other homes in the parish have to have a septic system, they don’t have a sewer system, and each home owner is responsible for the upkeep, repair or replacement of their own system.

  5. sewage backing up into homes ? sounds like a law suit people.
    did the city not take into account the growth of this neighborhood ?

    • This is a problem for the people that live in that subdivision and they should pay for it. To the parish council, if you are dumb enough to pay for this, then it will open you up to pay for other areas, ie., Blanchard Subdivision for one. The sewerage issue and their streets is why this area has been trying to annex into the city for years. Many years ago, my parents and the rest of our neighborhood had to pony up their money for sewer and a paved street. These folks should have to do the same.

      • Chief, I read your comments and I’m afraid have to disagree with you on one part of your comment. I have known for many years the residents, and knew a lot of the wonderful people who lived on Blanchard Road, the old farmers as they called themselves, who are no longer with us. My family was part of those old farmers and I will tell you now, they fought being annexed into the city. They fought tooth and nail to keep the city from taking over Blanchard Rd and the streets in the area. I don’t know if that is what you are referring to as Blanchard Subdivision, and though I researched subdivisions, and I’m not a Natchitoches native, I don’t know of any other place called Blanchard Subdivision. If there is and you are not talking about the Blanchard Road area, let me apologize now. Yes we have our issues, but I still agree with the old farmers who lived here. Their thought was that the only one to profit from annexation would be the city who would then collect a property tax, along with the parish taxation. So what about all the goodies that are promised if an area is annexed, what do the residents get? First much higher property taxes, and that is not a plus on the resident’s side, it’s a minus. Sewer systems? Well, yes, but when? I have often heard that it would take years and years, if ever the way things go around here, so higher taxes and we are still on individually owned septic systems. And the resident will have to pay for their portion of the sewer line that runs from the street to the house, and forever thereafter will have to pay for repairs. Too me, that is still a minus on the resident’s side. Better roads or streets in the area is also a promise. Now from what I’ve heard, home owners have to pay for those improved streets, so anyone want to tell me how money out of the homeowner’s pocket to pay for a street that everyone in the city and parish uses could possibly be a plus to the homeowner. Yep, to me another minus on the resident’s side. Residents would get police protection. Yes we would, but we currently have protection from the sheriff’s department, so what’s the problem with that? We have protection just as good as the police protection would be, so why change? To me, that change would be a wash so it’s no benefit.

        So basically, there are not really any pluses on the resident’s side. The old farmers fought being annexed into the city for years, and you know, I admire and respect the wisdom of those old farmers, they knew the political system and how it works. They knew residents would not benefit from being a part of the city, and though there are so many promises, they didn’t think any of them would be honored, at least in their lifetime, and probably not in the lifetime of many of the residents, and my feelings are the same. I just think the city wants more money from a larger tax base, and the promises made really don’t amount to a hill of beans to us, the residents of the Blanchard Road area. As for the bad roads, the parish has got to do something. I believe that when we get people on the parish council that we know we can trust to truly work for the people, we will vote for the tax that will give us better roads. But right now, money moves around from one account to another, and I don’t know if people know it, but that is a NO-NO unless the people of the parish know and vote on it. There are other shady things happening. Legal? I don’t know. There are people on the council that act like spoiled children, and are not willing to work with others to solve the many problems of this parish. It’s not the best, but I think the city is just the same, and moves the money wherever they want it. So why jump from the frying pan into the fire?

        I think the parish has again gotten themselves into a mess. All along, Payne should have been like the rest of us if they are not in the city limits. Parish Council should not be in the development of a subdivision. I know we have to go to the Planning Commission to make changes to our homes, so did they check plans on the streets and sewer lines to make sure they met code when they were built. Just a few questions that I have since the council seems to have stepped in it again.

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