The Parish Council voted to put plans for the creation of a sewer district for Payne Subdivision on hold while the Parish enters further negotiations with TESI. The original arrangement was that the Parish would accept the donation of the system from TESI, the company sent a letter, received by the Parish on Feb. 24, stating their continued willingness to participate in the transfer of the Payne Subdivision Sewer System and three other systems in Natchitoches Parish (Cedar Grove, Cedar Point and Point Place). And according to Council member Patsy Hoover and Marty Cheatwood, they’ve talked to constituents in at least one of these other subdivisions who said conditions are not great and TESI is not keeping up its systems.
Parish President John Richmond said he and the District Attorney are proceeding with negotiations for only the Payne Subdivision System. The Parish is not interested in taking on multiple sewer systems.
The problem is that the State Block Grant officials requested a timeline for the Payne Subdivision Sewer Project of March 21, 2020. According to Richmond, given the current state of negotiations with TESI, he’s requested the assistance of Senator Louie Bernard and Senator Jay Luneau to work to have this deadline extended.
Another big agenda item was a resolution for the Council to consider for or against keeping the Home Rule Charter and Council-President form of government and to vote by motion to begin an introduction ordinance to repeal the Charter and to give the pleasure of the voters of Natchitoches Parish in regard to continuing to utilize the Home Rule Charter Council-President form of government or repeal the Charter for this form of government and replace it with the Police Jury form of government. Council members Jim Kilcoyne and Cheatwood voted against this resolution.
In other business, the Office of Head Start offered to donate two classroom buildings in Mansfield to the Parish and pay to have them moved to the Natchitoches Parish Landfill. They were blocked and placed in their permanent locations and estimates of cost to remodel are being compiled. They are looking at using the buildings for a Solid Waste Scale House office and for storage.
Richmond also asked the Council to vote against an ordinance, which would approve a cooperative endeavor agreement between the Parish and Save the Children to lease Parish property at 700 Trudeau Street. Richmond said he feels the property would be better put to use to move the Parish’s Office of Community Service into. The OCS is currently housed at the Natchitoches Parish Council on Aging, but they don’t have adequate space to operate. The Trudeau building would give them seven offices versus the three they have now. Not much work would be needed to bring the building up to par and there’s already office furniture inside. The Council voted the ordinance down, except for Chris Paige who abstained.
Moving on to other business, Interim Director of Public Works Johnny Salard was approved as the new Director of Public Works for the Parish based off the Search Committee’s recommendation to the Council (Salter voted no on this item).
The Council also reviewed a cost benefit analysis regarding the current agreement with IBTS to provide services for permitting, building inspections code enforcement, and floodplain management to the Parish. The 2-year agreement will expire in June/July of 2021.
Lastly, the Council went into executive session to hear an update on a recent motor vehicle accident. It was stated that a grader operator backed the grader over a resident’s car. The Parish is dealing with a property case first and will have to face a bodily injury case to come. After the session, the Council voted to allow the Parish’s legal representation negotiate with the plaintiff’s lawyer on the matter.
Other agenda items included:
Reappoint George Minturn, Lainey Wright, and Leslie Bayonne to the Natchitoches Parish Planning Commission (Salter and Hoover voted against the reappointment of Minturn).
Reappoint Johnny Poissot to the Natchitoches Parish Fire District 5 Board
Reappoint Emile Metoyer to the Natchitoches Parish Water Works District 2 Board
Appoint James Kilcoyne to the Natchitoches Parish Hospital Service District Board (Paige abstained).
Appoint Matthew Dodson to the Saline Lake Game and Fish Preserve Commission
Introduce ordinance 001-2020 authorizing the transfer of the title to property identified as the Breda Head Start Center to Save the Children.
Introduce ordinance 003-2020 authorizing the transfer of title to property identified as the Campti Head Start Center to the Town of Campti
Introduce ordinance 004-2020 authorizing the transfer of title to property identified as the NSU Head Start Center to Northwestern State University.