Parish Council holds brief March 21 meeting 

At the March 22 Natchitoches Parish Council meeting OCS Executive Director Sharon Harris reported numbers for low income energy assistance. For the month of February of 2022 for crisis assistance, OCS helped four households with a payment of $1,213.78 for American Rescue Plan monies. For 2021 OCS helped 13 households with a total amount of $8,671.63. For the month of February (during the heating season) OCS served 95 households for a total of $48,050.

In other business, Parish Finance Director Julie Lockhart said of the Parish’s two outstanding CWEF grants, the Sandy Point Water System has made its first application for reimbursement and the Chestnut-Readhimer Water System will start their first test well in the very near future.

As unanimously approved by the Council during its regularly scheduled meeting in July of 2021, all rural water systems serving residents of Natchitoches Parish were invited to submit their WATER SECTOR PROJECTS to Natchitoches Parish Government. The intention of the NPG’s involvement in these projects is to use funds from its distribution of funds associated with the American Rescue Plan Act, as permitted, to “close the funding gap” of the anticipated costs of these projects.

The requested funds are not related to the NPG normal annual budget and may be spent only on projects related to water, sewer, or storm water drainage per ARPA guidelines and guidance. If every project listed below is approved for funding at the both the State and Parish level, the total expenditure from NPG ARPA funds will be $1,256,620, with $2,449,465 remaining in this current disbursement.

American Recovery Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA): Initial funding of approximately $3.7 million has been received by Natchitoches Parish. Early guidance has indicated that along with COVID19 related costs, these funds may be used for water, sewer, and stormwater drainage related projects. Based on this guidance, NPG has formulated a framework for a plan that includes the following:

1. Partnering with rural water systems to assist in funding the “gap” in their existing funding structures on “shovel ready projects”. Projects, and recommended funding amounts will be subject to Parish Council approval. These are projects the Council approved at Monday night’s meeting.

2. Working within each district with engineers and Parish Council representatives to develop drainage projects, RFPs, and subsequent approval of projects that meet the following conditions:

3. Solve immediate stormwater drainage problems in each district, and
Focus not only on drainage, but also storm water retention, and controlled outflow.

The Water Sector Projects to be submitted to the State of Louisiana, and requesting ARPA funding assistance from the Natchitoches Parish Government are as follows:

Agenda items:

Confirm the appointment of Gregory Brock on the Saline Lake Game and Fish Preserve Board of Commissioners.

First Introduction of proposed Ordinances:

Adopt Ordinance 009-2022 to remove section 1.11 The Recording Policy from the Natchitoches Parish Personnel Manual due to being unconstitutional and by the Revised Statute.

Public Hearings:

Adopt Ordinance 006-2022 to amend, correct and re-adopt Residential Development Permit Fees of Ordinance 8-2014.

Adopt Ordinance 007-2022 to amend the minimum acreage (22,500 square feet) and requested documentation for subdividing property in Natchitoches Parish and all its participating municipalities.

Adopt Ordinance 008-2022 allowing the Parish President to enter into a franchise agreement with all utility providers serving locations within Natchitoches Parish as allowed by law. And furthermore, to allocate all new franchise monies to be dedicated to the Highway fund.

Other Agenda Items:

Authorize the Parish President to distribute a Request for Proposals for procuring the services of a geotechnical testing firm for borings and soil testing to assist the Parish Engineer in the pavement design for the resurfacing of Hart Road and Harmony Road, at an estimated cost not to exceed $20,000 and, following evaluation of the proposals received, to select the proposal that is in the Parish’s best interests based on the proposed cost and estimated delivery date, and to execute a contract with the selected firm.