Perhaps the most interesting portion of Monday night’s Parish Council meeting, Sept. 21, dealt with tax exemption applications for Roy O Martin that were denied at the Aug. 17 meeting.
Roy O Martin III, CEO of Martco LLC, came before the Council to ask them to reconsider their previous vote. The applications presented at August’s meeting were the 60th or 70th tax exemption applications that have come before the Council and formerly before the Police Jury.
Roy said they monitor government entity websites so they know whenever an agenda item comes up that concerns them within the 32 parishes they do business in throughout the state. The Parish Government failed to publish the agenda for August’s meeting to its website.
Roy came to the September meeting to let the Council know that he’s submitted an appeal to the Louisiana Board of Commerce and Industry and to ask the Council to reconsider its vote from August and write a letter of support for the tax exemption applications instead. Northwestern State University President Dr. Chris Maggio and State Senator for District 31 Louie Bernard came to show their support.
When a motion was made to amend the agenda to approve said letter (which requires an unanimous vote) Council member Patsy Ward Hoover voted no.
The Council has until Oct. 14 to submit a letter of support and Council member Chris Paige said they can hold a special called meeting if they need to in order to get the ball rolling on this.
In other news, the Parish’s Office of Community Services relocated and has been operating out of its new location at 700 Trudeau Street for a week now.
Parish Treasurer Julie Lockhart reported that the recent audit came back with no findings and that this is the second time in 10 years that the Parish has had a clean audit. It will be presented at the Council’s October meeting.
Other business included a presentation by Kristin Delahoussaye with the Capital Area Finance Authority, which is a housing finance authority based out of Baton Rouge that offers grants to first time home buyers through its lending partners. Operating in 49 parishes now, Delahoussaye asked the Council to consider entering into a cooperative endeavor agreement. First time home buyers would benefit from grants giving them up to 7% toward their downpayment and closing costs, while the Parish would benefit from some income from fees associated with the process (dependent upon parish and lender participation).
During his Parish President report, John Richmond updated the Council that TESI has indicated their intent to require “compensation” before they’re willing to donate the sewer system for the Payne Subdivision Sewer Improvement project. Richmond said he notified Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell of TESI’s change of heart and asked for his involvement. He also said that the CEA for the Fish Hatchery Road project has been received and signed. Surveying has begun and bid documents are being prepared. While the project was delayed due to Hurricane Laura he expects work to begin before the end of the year.
In other business, the Council tabled an agenda item to amend the Parish of Natchitoches Personnel Manual to provide that effective Jan. 1, 2021, the job position of Council Clerk is a part-time position, and to set the salary for that part-time position.
Other agenda items included:
Reappointment of Mark Swafford, William D. Musselwhite and Mary Ann Motter to the Fire District #3 Board.
Emergency Ordinance 16-2020 to authorize the Parish Planning and Zoning Department to waive all fees on permits issued for work to repair damage caused by Hurricane Laura (retroactive to Aug. 27), which shouldn’t exceed an estimated $5,000. This will only be available to parish residents through the end of October.
Approve the assessed value levied by Natchitoches Parish Tax Assessor Dollie Mahoney for Alliance Compressors c/o Emerson Climate (Assessors Value is $25, 847, 867 and Alliance requested $11, 375,000), Dollar Tree (Assessors Value is $642,400 and Dollar Tree requested $445,668), and Family Dollar (Assessors Value is $525,400 and Family Dollar requested #333,198).
Adopt Ordinance 015-2020 for budget amendment for Highway Fund, CoCo Bed Capital Outlay Fund, Fish Hatchery Capital Outlay Fund, Old River Road Capital Outlay Fund and 201 Capital Outlay Fund.
Approve Resolution 042-2020 to allow Natchitoches Parish Government to provide Health Insurance and other benefits to employees and retirees which meet eligibility requirements for the following departments: Highway, General Administration, Finance, Solid Waste, Planning and Zoning, Health Unit, Government Buildings, Library, Tenth Judicial District Court, District Attorney, Criminal Court, Public Safety/Civil Defense, Registrar of Voters, and OCS employees.
Award bid for highway department pneumatic roller to Scott Equipment.
Award RFP 2020-01 to DRC Emergency Services for debris removal due to Hurricane Laura and RFP 2020-02 to Witt O’Brien’s for debris monitoring services, which are estimated to cost a combines total of $1.5 million (75% of which will be reimbursed by FEMA with the potential for 90% reimbursement should Louisiana breach a threshold for total damage. Richmond feels this is very likely considering the amount of destruction throughout the state.).
Enter into a lease and/or CEA with Hagewood Water System to allow the system to use a portion of the Parish’s property at 6354 Hwy. 485 in Robeline to connect the system to the Sabine Water System for emergency backup water supply.
Authorize purchase of a new loader under State Contract #4400015170 in the amount of $155,715 from Scott Equipment, which failed with a 3-2 vote (Hoover, Kilcoyne and Salter voted this agenda item down).
Approve selection of projects and submission of applications for Capital Outlay funding by the state of Louisiana for the following roads: Payne Subdivison Phase II, Pardee, Hart, Harmony, Goldonna, Bayou Derbonne and Blanchard.