City Council votes on appointments, discusses airport hangar lease

The City Council appointed Matt Anderson as the Utility Director for the City of Natchitoches at its meeting Monday night, Sept. 28. Anderson has worked for the City for 22 years and has been serving as the assistant utility director under former director Charles Brossette.

Some Council members stated their excitement to see someone with Anderson’s qualifications getting hired from within the City. Anderson starts Tuesday morning, Sept. 29.

A second appointment on the agenda did not pass after Council members Eddie Harrington, Dale Nielsen and Council Member at Large Betty Sawyer Smith voted against it. The resolution was to appoint Nicole Gray as chief of staff for the City of Natchitoches.

When the position was created in 2013 it was part time and was appointed to Edd Lee with an annual stipend of $5,000 added to his salary. Lee works for the City as Director of Purchasing, Human Resources Director, is over the Natchitoches Regional Airport and serves as Risk Manager.

Lee only stepped down from his position as chief of staff because Mayor Ronnie Williams Jr. asked him to so Gray could be appointed, preferably in a full-time capacity as she and Williams had previously discussed, although no talk occurred of what a full time salary for a chief of staff would look like. However, some Council members were reluctant to do so, stating that they had not even received information about Gray’s qualifications, which would have included her resume. Lee, as HR Director said he had only received her resume earlier in the day, Sept. 28.

Another agenda item that garnered a fair amount of discussion was the introduction of an ordinance to execute a lease in favor of Marc Millican of a 21,785.76 square foot lot (Lot 4) of the Natchitoches Regional Airport.

There has been some conflict regarding this lot and the hangar that sits on it over the years. Millican has come before the Council before to contest his right of ownership and the respective lease. City Attorney Ron Corkern said Millican hasn’t been a good neighbor to the airport over the last 5 years. He claimed Millican has cost the City a significant amount of money in legal expenses, has filed complaints with the FAA that were found to be without merit, has stored everything in the hangar except a plane, hosted parties in said hangar, gave the airport’s gate code to an excess of 50 party guests, has had a school bus and a motorcycle driving down and across runways at times, and had cancelled insurance, which is an airport requirement. Needless to say the list of grievances was lengthy, but Airport Manager Larry Cooper said he was willing to bury the hatchet and try to move forward. Corkern recommended that the City approve the lease for a 3 year period instead of the requested 10 year period.

Other agenda items included:

Johnny Barnes, president of the Concerned Citizens Association, presented awards to City Council Members Rosemary Washington Eli, Chris Petite, Council Member at Large Betty Sawyer Smith and Mayor Ronnie Williams Jr.

Proclamation declaring Oct. 4-10 as Fire Prevention Week in the City of Natchitoches

Introduction of ordinance to change zoning classification of 1011 Keyser Avenue (Parkway Cinema) from B-3 Commercial to Additional B-A zoning to sell beverages of alcoholic content for consumption on premises. Owners Doug and Cathy said they’re looking for new ways to supplement revenue loss due to Covid. This includes drive-in movies; private screenings; selling additional food items like pizza, hot dogs, and pretzels; and now beer and wine.

Award the bid for caustic soda for the water treatment plant to Premier Chemicals and Services of Baton Rouge for $0.1175 cents per pound.

Final vote on ordinance to amend the 2020-2021 budget to reflect additional revenues and expenditures to transfer $1.8 million from Cares Act monies from the General Fund to the Utility Fund, receive a $130,000 state-rent payment and an allotted $619,970 for construction at the Eagle Building, and $158,376 increase to Sales Tax Rededication Fund 70 for work on the intersection of Texas and Second Street ($81,156) and the Bayou Jacko Sewer Main Relocation ($77,220).

Introduction of ordinance to amend the 2020-2021 budget to reflect additional revenues and expenditures to move $500,000 to Capital Improvements/Special Fund 71 for Capital Assets-Improvements-Monroe Drive, to correct Capital Improvements/Special Fund 71 for Capital Assets- Improvements- Bayou Jackso/Winona Crossing in the amount of $100,000, and to correct the Capital Improvements/Special Fund 71 for Capital Assets- Improvements- Texas and Second Street in the amount of $81,500.

Introduction of ordinance to award the bid for the Phase 3 Street Rehabilitation Project to Regional Construction of Natchitoches in the amount of $499,719. Juanita Fowler spoke in reference to this agenda item on behalf of property owners, tenants, and concerned citizens of Pierson Subdivision (nicknamed Pan Am). She urged the Council to reevaluate the list of roads included in the Phase 3 Street Rehabilitation Project and to add Railroad and Hill Streets. The only other street in Pan Am (Genti) is on the list, but Fowler said all three need to be addressed because of the extreme poor conditions the roads are in (SEE FULL LIST BELOW).

Introduction of ordinance to award the bid for a 35 ton detachable gooseneck spring ride trailer to Kaufman Trailers of Lexington, NC in the amount of $39,715.

Introduction of ordinance to execute an amendment to a lease in favor of Air Data Solutions of a portion of Lot 1A of the Natchitoches Regional Airport to provide for an updated mailing address for tenant.

Agenda amendment to add ordinance no. 055 of 2020 to approve an amendment to a lease entered into with the U.S. Government for the lease of all or a portion of the property located at 607 Trudeau Street/Depot Street and 720 Sith Street.

Execute grant agreements from the Federal Aviation Administration for a project at the Natchitoches Regional Airport titled Rehabilitate Airfield Drainage-Phase III Construction and a second project titled New Perimeter Fence and Repair Listing Fence- Phase II.

Advertise for bids for the Natchitoches Regional Airport consisting of Furnish Mk20a Localizer (equipment only) Bid No. 0631.

The next scheduled City Council meeting will be Monday, Oct. 12.

5 thoughts on “City Council votes on appointments, discusses airport hangar lease

  1. To have a degree in Communications, that woman was very rude and unprofessional to the man who had the podium. I’d say she doesn’t need help putting words in her mouth. Advertise the position and/or at least make it available to others who may be more qualified and better suited for the position. Let her keep her comfortable salary where she’s at if it’s not her.

  2. With all due respect to the new Mayor, I hope he takes the time to learn the order of things. It appears that he thinks he can just appoint anybody he chooses without going through the proper channels. It really makes him look like he does not know how things work or what he is doing. It would be prudent of him to allow some of those that have been on the council to advise and guide him so that he can do the best for Natchitoches. Humble yourself and learn the ropes.

  3. Is it called the “good ole boy” network when the he’s is trying to create and give a job to his female friend. Didn’t take him long to get into the Louisiana political game.

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