An agenda item brought before the Parish Council failed for lack of a two-thirds vote at its Monday night meeting, June 21. Ordinance No. 011-2021 (if it had been approved) would amend the Natchitoches Parish Home Rule Charter, Article VII, Section 7-01(A) to remove “Proposal to amend or repeal this charter may be made by a two-thirds vote of the membership of the Council” and replace this wording with “Proposals to amend or repeal the charter may be made by a majority vote of the membership of the Council or by petition signed by no less than 15% of the total number of registered voters in the parish. A petition to repeal or amend the charter must contain the full text of the proposed amendments, amendments, or repeal of the charter. The time limits and procedures for the petition shall be as those for an initiative ordinance as provided in Section 6-01 (1, 2 and 3)
Another agenda item dies because it wasn’t taken off the table at Monday night’s meeting. This item read: Award RFQ and sign a contract with IBTS related to certified building official and flood plan management services.
A motion was made to amend the agenda for a temporary service agreement with IBTS for 60 days while the Council makes a decision. This was added to the agenda and approved by the Council. Members want to meet face to face with the three companies that submitted a RFQ before they vote to choose who the Parish will move forward with. Calling for a special meeting was discussed, but no final decision was made.
In other business Nettles Brown, President of the Natchitoches Parish Port Commission, and Executive Director Travis Tyler gave the Council an overview of port operations. The port currently has 5 tenets. It is a multi-mobile facility with barge, truck and rail capabilities, which sees roughly 500,000 tons annually pass through. This consists of mainly bulk materials from old chips to frac sand. The port has 20 acres of developed property with 360 acres of property that can be developed.
JD Cox with the Natchitoches Soil and Water Conservation District presented the Council with an overview of the free services that are offered to landowners for feral swine removal. This is part of a much bigger project funded by federal dollars coming into the state. For more information on the program call 318-352-7100 (ext 3).
The Parish has received the first installment of the American Recovery Plan Act of 2021 in the amount of $3.7 million. Parish President John Richmond told the Council he will bring a plan before them as to how this funding can be used for drainage improvements. As far as the Parish has learned it will be able to spend a substantial amount of this money on storm water drainage.
Not only will residents be happy to hear of these improvements, but as for economic development, there are 3-4 certified sites in the parish and all but one are below the flood plain level.
“We have a number of people looking at Natchitoches Parish and we need to do what we can to make sure they look hard and don’t look us over,” said Richmond.
Agenda items included:
Confirm appointment of Travis Brossette to replace Harvis Johnson on the Fire District #1 Board
First Introduction of Proposed Ordinances:
012-2021 to affect a zoning change from a Business-3 and an Industrial-Agricultural to a Residential-1 District for the purpose of placing single family residence on a 1.154 acre tract of land located along Highway 494 in Natchitoches
013-2021 to affect a zoning change from Industrial-Agricultural to a Residential-1 District for the purpose of a developing a single family, residential subdivision on a 15.21 acre tract of land located at 315 Rose Hill Plantation in Natchitoches
030-2021 approving the issuance, sale, and delivery of not exceeding $5 million water revenue refunding bonds in one or more series of the Waterworks District #2. This is an effort to refund bonds and reduce debt. It will provide around $600,000 in savings.
Adopt millage rates (SEE DOCUMENT BELOW FOR PROPOSED ROLL FORWARDS ESTIMATES). The Council voted to have all the millage rates remain the same as they are currently.
Other agenda items:
Execute Change Order No. 5 for the resurfacing of streets in Payne Subdivision Phase 2. This final change order provides for the reconciliation of plan quantity to final quantity actually used for items not addressed in previous change orders.
Appoint Natchitoches Times as the official journal for the Parish Government
Enter into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with the following good Samaritans: Greg Goings for Boelyn Road, Jimmy McDaniel for Patrick Road and Billy Dans for Earl Roe Road
Award and sign related documents for LCDBG-HVAC program the RFP for administrative services to Frye-Magee LLC and the RFQ for engineering services to Schuler Consulting Company pending the approval of the Louisiana Office of Community Development. Health Unit, OCS Live Oak Extension, and Old Courthouse. Asking for $300,000 in state Covid funding.
Ben Dupree came before the Council as an invited guest toward the end of the meeting. He came to question an ordinance from 1998 that requires third party trash haulers to attain a permit and to adhere to a requirement that they bring the trash they collect to the landfill in Natchitoches.
Dupree said he’s been collecting household trash from throughout the Goldonna community and some surrounding areas for several years now. He said he considers the work he does as his ministry or a form of outreach because he barely earns a profit from what he charges his customers (the elderly, single working moms, etc.) for hauling the trash.
On May 27, 2021 Dupree used the Goldonna compactor station for the very first time. He unloaded several loads of trash that morning. Then in the afternoon he was informed the legality of his operation had been questioned. He was told that he was now to bring all collected trash to the landfill in Natchitoches.
The consensus of the Council was that the ordinance and the situation with third party haulers operating in the parish needed to be looked at so the Council can find a solution to the issue that’s been brought before them.