Parish Council meeting: April 18

The Natchitoches Parish Council held a brief meeting Monday night, April 18.

Council member Chris Page asked Parish President John Richmond to give an update on the traffic issue on Brickyard Road, which only has one way in and one way out. If a train stops to offload/onload product at the Weyerhaeuser Plant, it can stop traffic for long periods of time. In the past motorists were allowed to drive through the facility, but with changes in insurance, this is no longer an option for Weyerhaeuser. The Parish is talking to the company now to see what can be done to help alleviate the delays, including uncoupling train cars to provide a gap for cars to drive through.

“This isn’t fair and it isn’t right for the people that live back there,” said Page.

Other agenda items included:

  • DID NOT PASS Amend the agenda to add an item to declare May 1-7 as National Travel and Tourism Week in the Parish (Salter and Hoover voted against it while Page was absent at the time the vote was taken).
  • Re-appoint Lauryn Sharplin to the Natchitoches Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Re-appoint John Morgan to the Natchitoches Parish Fire District 1 Board
  • Appoint Mark Edwin Kerry to the Natchitoches Parish Fire District 1 Board
  • Re-appoint Rev. Dr. Frank Fuller to the Natchitoches Library Board of Control
  • Appoint Carmella Parker to the Natchitoches Library Board of Control
  • Introduction of proposed Ordinance 009-2022 to remove section 1.11 The Recording Policy from the Natchitoches Parish Personnel Manual due to it being unconstitutional and by the revised statute (Cheatwood voted against)
  • Approve Resolution 014-2022 approving the holding of an election in Fire Protection District #6 on Tuesday, Nov. 8 to authorize the levy of a special tax and to authorize the levy of a parcel fee
  • Adopt Resolution 015-2022 in support of an application to the Local Government Assistance Program (LGAP grants) for the purchasing of a mini excavator in the amount of $79,318.41 and $20,195.40 for “back-scanning” of parish records for the Clerk of Court. The total application amount is $99,513.81. The Clerk’s office is self funded and gets no tax monies. Back-scanning records is important because it gives people easier access to records. It’s also a safe way to care for records that date back to 1739. The Clerk of Court’s Office has already back-scanned conveyance records back to 1926, mortgage records back to 1981, and more.
  • Adopt Resolution 016-2022 for approval of recommended list of new bridges for replacement under the Federal Off-System Bridge Replacement Program. This includes: Government Road over Cypress Creek (Two places), *Brandon Cotton Road over Bayou Terre Blanc, Nelson Road over Brushy Creek, Dick Anderson Road over Brushy Creek, Old Victoria Road over Trudo Creek, *Shady Grove South Road over Middle Creek (Four places), Forest Road over Lyles Creek, and Robeline-Provencal Road over Trudo Creek. *These bridges are priorities due to their current condition
  • Adopt Resolution 022-2022 that supports the continued publication of minutes, notices, and all official governmental proceedings in the local newspaper.
  • Approve the Parish President to hire an attorney to help close an IRS matter from the non-filing of the 1095C for the year ended 12/31/2017. The current penalty is $142,000 and growing. The Parish is looking to hire a tax attorney to help mitigate the fine. The findings are failure to file timely and failure to file correct forms. Each finding has about a $70,000 penalty with interest accruing. The Parish is not in active collections while it’s given a bit of leeway to file an appeal.
  • Authorize the Parish President to enter into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with the local district of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and the Natchitoches Parish Sheriff’s Office to facilitate pickup and disposal of roadside debris within the geographic limits of the Parish. In years past there were issues with trustees from the Detention Center who would dispose of trash at the landfill. There have been court cases over the last few years that say the Parish can’t grant freebies, so there needs to be value on both sides. The Sheriff’s Office is providing the labor associated with trash pickup that can be documented. Likewise, DOTD came to the Parish with trees that could easily have been disposed of in the limb pit. The value found with DOTD was dirt hauled to the limb pit to benefit the Parish.