Parish Council receives broadband update

Jimmy Long spoke to the Natchitoches Parish Council at its May 15 meeting to give members a broadband update on behalf of  Senator Bill Cassidy’s Office.

There is already $342 million in ARPA funding for Louisiana with a 6 year time line for completion. There is also a GUMBO package that Natchitoches Parish was awarded with $2 million in first round, which will provide high speed internet service to about 350 residents and businesses.

Louisiana will also secure an additional $1.2-1.4 billion for broadband with a 5 year completion plan. This will be enough money to bring broadband across the entire state. This means the state would receive $225 million over next 5 years, every year with the first round taking place in November of this year.

“This [broadband access] will become a major economic driver for Natchitoches Parish,” said Long. “Internet is a service that is absolutely necessary for businesses to operate and for communities to develop.”

Long said the overall process to bring broadband to every resident in the state is taking place, but it’s just slow. He encouraged the Council not to get discouraged.

Other agenda items included:

Remove Anthony Moore from the Natchitoches Parish Planning and Zoning Commission.

Council to Adopt Ordinance 007-1-2023 of the Parish Council creating an Economic Development District within the Parish of Natchitoches to be named the “Economic Development District I, II, III, and IV Parish of Natchitoches,” defining the potentially State sales defining the boundaries thereof from which certain area local and potentially state sales and use tax increments will be determined and used to Finance Economic Development projects within the district, all as authorized by Part II of Chapter 27 of title 33 of the Louisiana revised statutes of 1950, as amended (The Act) and providing for other matters in connection with the foregoing.

Adopt Ordinance 010-2023 to affect a zoning change from an I-A District to a Business-3 (B-3) District for the purpose of a restaurant business on a 3.496-acre tract (Parcel # 0030061400B). The property is located in Section 23, 24, & 52, Township 11 North, Range 8 West with a Physical address of 932 Hwy. 3163 in Campti as shown on the Survey attached hereto, approved by the Parish Planning Commission on April 3.

Council to consider adopting a resolution approving the holding of an election in Fire Protection District NO. 4 of the Parish of Natchitoches, State of Louisiana, on Saturday, October 14, 2023, to authorize the rededication of a special tax therein.

Council to consider adopting a resolution providing for canvassing the returns and declaring the results of the special election held in the Parish of Natchitoches, State of Louisiana, on Saturday, April 29, 2023, to authorize the levy of a special tax therein.

Other Agenda Items:

Approve an application to Delta Regional Authority for the benefit of Chestnut-Readhimer Water System for potable water improvements in the amount of $100,000 to $200,000.

Authorize Parish President to exercise option to extend contract with Waste Connections Bayou, Inc. in accordance with current contract effective July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2023.

Authorize Parish President to sign a CEA with FAUNA. As previously approved by the Parish Council, this agreement combines the annual funding for the Natchitoches Humane Society and Hope for Paws into one amount of up to $10,000 annually for the reimbursement of costs associated with the Spay and Neuter program.

Council to consider funding the District Attorney’s Office Prosecution Diversion Program, Tenth Judicial District Adult Drug Court and the Tenth Judicial District Juvenile Drug Court with the monies received from the Opioid Settlement.

Council to authorize Parish President to award and enter into a contract agreement with Sun Stream, Inc. in the amount of $429,729.00 for the required alterations to electrical service for the Parish Courthouse, Live Oak Building, and old Courthouse Museum.