Parish Council discusses millages, East Natchitoches Parish Drainage Project, new bin and compactor sites

The Parish Council discussed one particular item on its agenda at length during its meeting Monday evening, June 15. The item was to adopt the adjusted millage rate or rates and set forth the adjusted millage rates or rates and roll forward to millage rates or rates not exceeding in the maximum authorized rate or rates.

The Health Unit collected 3 mills last year and the legislative auditor rolled it back to 2.94 mills. Public Buildings collected 3 mills in 2019 and was also rolled back to 2.94 mills. The Library levied 8 mills last year and was rolled back to 7.85 mills. Road District 40 was at 7.85 mills and was rolled back to 5 mills. Exempt municipalities went from 1.73 to 1.7 mills while general alimony went from 3.47 to 3.41 mills.

If the Parish chose not to roll forward on these millages they’d collect basically the same amount of money on those rolled down, an approximate $1.9 million at a difference of around $21,000 more if they were rolled up.

The Council has 4 years (including 2020) to roll these millages forward. Council member Jim Kilcoyne said this regarded raises in property taxes and he’d rather wait and get community input before the Council rolls anything forward. All the Council members were in favor of leaving the millages as they are, but John Salter suggested that the Parish should be getting money from all these millages and that the Council needs to take a closer look at it. He feels that the millages should all be maxed out.

Salter also said the boards for the different millages could decide to donate or contribute money toward repairing roads in the Parish, much like the recent Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with the Cane River Waterway Commission to repave Fish Hatchery and Bermuda Roads. He thinks this is the right thing for these groups to do because the hospital’s ambulances use the Parish’s roads, along with the Library’s Bookmobile and Fire District trucks. This is something they’ll be looking into with the newly formed Finance and Budget Committee.

Council member Patsy Hoover added that the Council has given tax cuts to companies like RoyOMartin and Alliance Compressors and she feels they should help with fixing the Parish roads as well. She gave the example that organizations and businesses could donate the cost to fix 1 mile of road.

We’re supposed to be working as a team in this community,” she said.

The final verdict was to leave the millages as they are with the exception of the Road District 40 tax, which they will roll forward. The Council will revisit rolling the other millages forward next year.

Another interesting agenda item was one to approve the cost of additional engineering work necessary to proceed further with East Natchitoches Parish Drainage project for the Louisiana Watershed Initiative Grant. These additional costs shall not exceed $5,000 on the Parish’s part. The Toal costs are around $20,000 and will be shared between the Parish, the City, the Levy and Drainage District and the Cane River Waterway Commission. This will help drainage from East Natchitoches (Blanchard Road Subdivision area) all the way to the Hampton Road area.

Nick Verret, who’s working on the project, said other projects can be submitted in the future to improve drainage conditions in other areas of the Parish.

Options for this particular project include diverting water to Cane River Lake or building a pumping station to send water into the Red River, which Verret said is the best option.

Another interesting agenda item was to discuss new bin sites and computer sites for solid waste (Kilcoyne voted against this item). This includes taking the site at Firetower Road and moving it to Gorum by the old school, closing it in and making it a control site. The Parish won’t be charged to put the site at this location, but a fence will have to be built and the Parish will have to maintain the section of the road leading to the site and lighting in the area. Another site, located on Base Spring Road and Hwy 490, will be moved adjacent to the Curtis Grocery store in Chopin. The third site, located on Hwy. 156 in Goldonna will be enlarged and a compactor will be added. Two employees will be assigned to each site for a total cost of $5,100 per month. This is an effort by the Parish to better serve residents by keeping rural areas clean.

Agenda items included:

Re-appoint Edward Ward to the Natchitoches Parish Housing Authority Board

Re-appoint Tom Outz and Doyle Hays to the Fire District No. 8 Board

Appoint Yolanda Horton, Annetta Miller, Dorothy Washington Duke, and Lula Williams to the Sewage District No. 2 Board

Amend the budget for the government building fund, criminal jury compensation fund, law enforcement officer criminal witness fund, disaster recovery fund, and the courthouse security capital outlay fund

Appoint Council members Jim Kilcoyne and Chris Paige to be on the Finance and Budget Committee

Appoint the Natchitoches Times as the official journal in Natchitoches Parish

Authorize the Parish President to sign and execute the Multi-Jurisdictional Consortium Agreement with the Coordinating and Development Coordination for the purpose of establishing a consortium to carry out programs and activities as authorized by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

Authorize the Parish President to sign and execute a Community Water Enrichment Fund Agreement with the Louisiana Division of Administration for the purpose of potable water improvements for community water systems in the Parish

Authorize the Parish President to enter into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with the Cane River Waterway Commission for the rehabilitation for Fish Hatchery Road

INTRODUCTION:

Remove the last 1,130 feet of Cloud Crossing Road from the Parish Road System

Amend the 2020 Operating Budget to create Fund 221 Payne Sewer LCDBG Project

Surplus the Old Creston Polling Place Building

Effect a zoning exception to the I-A Industry-Agriculture District zoning classification for Cypress Baptist Church for the purpose of establishing a cemetery on the 1.2 acre tract of land where the church currently exists


17 thoughts on “Parish Council discusses millages, East Natchitoches Parish Drainage Project, new bin and compactor sites

  1. Can someone answer a couple of questions for me? I thought that the city projects were to be done by the city and the parish does the outer rural area??? Our road is gone! I talked to the supervisor of the road repair 2 weeks ago, and he promised me he would be out here to get started on it. Well, Friday, they filled a couple potholes and I ain’t seen nothing yet. I will be calling him back tomorrow! It’s like everything in and around Natchitoches always comes first and then there is nothing left for us folks out in the country. Our road is gone! People are driving on parts of my Mama’s yard so not to bottom out in the craters. She’s got a pine tree that has been there since she was a child. SHE’S 83. The black top has been gone for so long, the roots are sticking up from the”dirt road”. So she’s afraid it’s gonna kill it, because people are driving over them and in her yard. From 1 end to the other end it’s the same way. And out in front of our church, there are 2 areas that run across the road. People are gonna be driving through the church yard to keep from falling into a crater. And tell me why the parish came out and dug out the ditch for him, but he had to pay them for doing it. That can’t be right. We live on Holman Loop in Fairview Alpha. And WE HAVE NO ROAD! We pay taxes for this mess to be fixed! I’m so tired of it till I could scream! I know that times change, but I’m not stupid. My Daddy used to be a Police Juror, way back when.

    Sincerely, Disgusted 😤😤😤

  2. Old RN,

    I take it you’re a nurse? Well, I think the world of nurses, and not just because my daughter, sister, two nieces, and several others I hold dear are all nurses. It’s a wonderful profession filled with unsung heroes.

    I understand and appreciate your views on the trash collection sites in the parish. The measure passed and so such sites will be improved and the people hired to staff them. I am sure that alone will be a blessing and a huge improvement. I look forward to seeing glowing reports from the folks who will benefit the most from these new sites.

  3. On the Payne Sewer System…

    hopefully the grant will cover the restoration of the mechanical system and bring it back on line fully operational, or close to it. Then the money for the maintenance and future improvements will have to come from the 150 or so households in the subdivision. This is has all been made crystal clear to those who own property and/or live in the subdivision. It’s on them. As I mentioned the ordinance was written such that the parish government can not spend money on Sewer District #2 (Payne Subdivision), except for some small administrative costs helping it get established. At last night’s council meeting four members of the sewer district’s board were confirmed.

  4. @ Ms Hoover… I wonder has all of Natchitoches parish completely forgotten about the residents of Cloutierville , I only ask because I have been a resident of Natchitoches parish for 12 years now and I have not seen any care for this town. Our roads are so damage that you will destroy your vehicle trying to get through them. It’s like once the school was taken ..out of sight out of mind when on. Can anyone keep this town in mind when thinking of Natchitoches parish….. And on another note how can we give a company tax breaks that don’t even sponsor any schools in the parish that they are station in, and we have plenty of schools that could have used a little help….

  5. glad to see the tax hike that nobody voted for paid
    for street lights out on hwy 6 to help with the park nobody
    wanted,which won’t be used to full extent this year.lol

  6. On the millages…

    Last night the council voted to keep taxes the same in 2020 as they were in 2019 re: the Health Unit, Library, Public Buildings, Exempted Municipalities, and General Fund. The millage for Road Dist. No. 40 was voted to roll forward. That will mean to keep it at the full 5.0 mills and with the new property assessment it will result in a slight increase in parish property taxes, for those who pay it. It will generate $25,124.99 for the Highway Department this tax year, and a similar amount each year going forward. Voters will not vote again on this millage rate until 2027.

    Last night’s council vote does NOT make this a done deal. By law, and via the HRC, any and all tax increases have to be advertised for a period of time, and the parish council cannot place it on an agenda for a regular monthly meeting (and vote) until 30 days after the advertisements run. This is to give the public time to voice your opinion on this. My suggestion is not to merely post your thoughts here, although that is also a good idea, but to contact your council representative, and to show up for the public hearing portion of the process at the council meeting when this will be addressed.

    I hope this clarifies any questions you may have had on this matter.

  7. Taken from the article above: “Agenda items included: Authorize the Parish President to enter into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with the Cane River Waterway Commission for the rehabilitation for Fish Hatchery Road”

    $o does this mean that this is a done deal, despite the questions that people of the parish had? $o did the council look into the legality of taking this money from the Cane River Waterway Commission? $o will the Bermuda Road be included in this rehabilitation as was announced on the banks of the Cane a few days ago? $o does the council have any issues with the fact that there might be a conflict of interest here?

    I feel like some of the people care, some people don’t care. Is it always going to be politics as usual in good old Natchitoches? It is not what you know in this town, it’s who you know. It’s been that way for a long time. If a question is asked, all they do is meet behind closed doors, never announcing that meeting, and suddenly you hear that your question isn’t answered and the deal is done. Does it even help to bring up questions that need answers? I don’t think so. I think a lot of the people in the parish don’t matter, that the politicians think what they believe is the only way, and we the people need to shut up, close our eyes, and blindly follow along. As for me, I don’t and I won’t. You may not answer my questions, but eventually people will realize that things are not right, not if you can’t even answer questions. I’ve done my duty. I’ve pointed out that first of all, I do believe it is not legal for that money to move from one account to another.

    Second, is there a conflict of interest. Mr Rhodes is chairman of the waterway commission and also works Rhodes Property Development Co. I know this road is bad, what road isn’t in Natchitoches, but how and why was this road chosen? Is there a housing development being planned? Originally Bermuda Road was included in the work to be done. Is it still part of the project? A member of the waterway commission, Ms Vienne, just happens to live on Bermuda Road. Does anyone not see the conflicts here? I’m not against the roads being repaired, and being repaired in a way that they will hold up, but I want things done in a way that Natchitoches will not look like it is involved in shady politics.

    Why is it so hard to answer my questions, and I’m sure others have the same questions. I wish I could trust the politics of Natchitoches, but so far, I have no reason to.

    • Keep up the good work. Hopefully people in Natchitoches City and Parish will read your comments and begin to question the “shady politics” in Natchitoches Parish.

    • I’ve asked questions for a couple years now and never get an answer! I feel the same way you do about people caring .Don’t know if they just don’t want to step on toes or really just don’t care. There’s issues up and down the river,but they never seem to have the money for that. And there does seem to be a couple conflicts of interest but that also seems not to bother anyone. So like you I feel like I’ve done my part which just means I given information and have ask a lot of unanswered questions! Our transparent government is business as usual.

  8. Amend the 2020 Operating Budget to create Fund 221 Payne Sewer LCDBG Project

    Does the mean we have taken that system over permanently?

    • No, it does not mean that. This item, and others discussed and voted on, is simply a budgeting measure. It will create a separate line item in the budget so ANYONE looking at the parish budget can easily find this, and other projects. It is merely to better organize the budget making it easier to read.

      The ordinance passed by the council two months ago creating Sewer District #2 clearly states the parish CAN NOT spend any money in, or on behalf of, the sewer district, after the minor administrative costs establishing it are completed.

      I hope this clarifies your concerns.

      • Thank you Jim for your reply.
        If I may ask another question, these stations have seen better times. At some point there’s going to be a hefty bill for upkeep. Won’t that ultimately fall on the parish? This small district won’t be able to pay a huge bill and if the state and EPA says somebody’s going pay well somebody is going to pay. Again thank you for you reply!

        • I assume by “these stations” you are referring to the trash collection/compactor stations. Well, as the article states I voted NO, not because I am against having better/cleaner trash bins, but because of the cost of fencing and hiring two employees per station without a clear job description. There was discussion at the meeting about trying to curtail non-Natchitoches Parish residents from using the stations and I inquired if the employees would be checking for proof of residency. I was told no, that was not practical. So, other than waving at folks pulling in, and maybe picking up some trash that somehow missed the bins, I am not sure what these paid employees will be doing. But, taxpayers will be footing the bill.

          • Jim: I think you should take a ride to the country and visit some of these trash sites that are not fenced. Bring a gas mask because the smell is at times horrible. These dump sites are plagued by dumpster divers trying to steal identities. They open the bags that were deposited in the dumpsters, and as they sort through them, the unwanted contents are scattered all around. It is unsafe to wade through all that trash. Animals are also brought there and dumped. Then while you are taking in the country scenery, look at the strewn trash all along the sides of the roads. This is against environmental laws. If DEQ is tipped off and the inspector sees the deplorable condition of the dumpsters, then the fines are steep. It is truly a shame that people litter to the point of being disgusting, and remember littering is against the law. Law enforcement has been told about this and it has been ignored. You city people have trash laws that are enforced and animal control laws that are enforced, and you have curb side garbage pick up. The paid employees help keep the divers away. They open and close the gates. And when the employees see folks throwing trash all over, they can get a license plate number and report it. If not watched, we will be wading in filth as we try to dispose of our garbage.

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