Monroe City Council Minutes

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District #1
Dr. Raymond A. Armstrong
Vice Chairman                                       

District #2                                                             Mrs. Gretchen H. Ezernack 

District #3
Ms. Betty Blakes

District #4                                                             Mr. Kenneth Wilson 

District #5
Mr. Eddie Clark
Chairman

City Council
CITY OF MONROE, LOUISIANA
Post Office Box 123
Monroe, Louisiana 71210-0123
Phone (318) 329-2252
Fax (318) 329-3416

February 25, 2014
6:00 p.m.

There was a legal and regular session of the City Council of the City of Monroe, Louisiana held this date at the Council's regular meeting place, the Council Chamber, City Hall Building, Monroe, Louisiana.

The Honorable Eddie Clark, Chairman, called the meeting to order. He then asked the clerk to call the roll.

There were present: Council members Dr. Armstrong, Mrs. Ezernack, Ms. Blakes, Mr. Wilson and Mr. Clark.

There was absent: None

Chairman Clark announced that a quorum was present and that the Invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance would be led by Mr. Wilson’s designee, Rev. Price, New St. James Baptist Church Pastor.

Chairman Clark proceeded by acknowledging the time for special announcements and/or communications.

Dr. Armstrong said he was pleased to see regular attendees who have been ill.  He said he didn’t see Mr. Hackney and hope that all is well with him and may God Bless everyone.

Mrs. Ezernack welcomed everyone to Council meeting and thanked MPD, and MFD and everyone else for their assistance during the ice storm.

Ms. Blakes thanked everyone for coming out tonight and for those who came out and gave their input at the Budget hearing, because the City do receive monies from fees, grants and was pleased that you came out to tell us how you would like your tax dollars spent because we do work for you. 

Mr. Wilson thanked everyone for coming out to Budget Hearings and it was a time listening and the constituents told us some of the things that they wanted to see. He thanked the citizens for being at tonight’s meeting and good to see Ms. Bryant and others who have been ill and went by to see Ms. Bryant while she was out.  Mr. Wilson thanked the teachers for being role models in the community.  He thanked GB Cooley who do work with the city by contract, for picking up trash and thanked the employees who spend time with special needs individuals.  He thanked Pastor Price for coming through for him at the last minute.

Mayor Mayo introduced the new Interim Engineer, Ms. Kim Golden who was also his Executive Administrative Officer for three years; as well as past Police Juror for District E; she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the City and is pleased to have her as a part of his great team. He invited everyone to the State of the City which starts at 11:30 a.m. with refreshments, and Departments/Divisions will showcase exhibits to share some of the things that are going on in the City of Monroe. This will allow them to show where some of the tax dollars are going; it is always a great time and event, and to culminate as he is honored to give the State of the City address to talk about all of the successes as well as the challenges in the city.  The theme for the State of the City is Community Outreach which is the same thing acknowledged earlier for the entire year and he looks forward to talking more about community outreach in Monroe as well as the State, Regional and Federal level.  He said the Monroe Chamber of Commerce and himself had a chance to lobby in Washington DC not only with delegation (2 Senators and Congressman McAllister) but had an opportunity to visit with the entire delegation of La. with the exception of Congressman Richmond but had a chance to have a sidebar with him and the opportunity to talk about projects that are being worked on and asking for other funding.  He said he had an opportunity to talk with Lobbyist Pat Boze about how to spread efforts to get more funding from the Federal Government since they have outlawed earmarks, so forth.  He said it was a very good trip and look forward for additional projects that continue to enhance economic development efforts.

Mr. Clark welcomed and congratulated Ms. Kim Golden to the Interim position.  He also welcomed Ms. Bryant and Ms. Nell Bradley back. He stated that he will not be at the State of the City as he will be out of the state due to a court case.

Upon a motion of Dr. Armstrong and seconded by Ms. Blakes the minutes of the Legal and Regular Session of February 11, 2014 were unanimously approved as presented. (There were no comments from the public).

PRESENTATION: NONE.

PUBLIC HEARINGS: NONE.

PROPOSED CONDEMNATIONS:

 1. 130 Vernon Street (Owner - Kimberly Kage) (Curator) "Notice to Show Cause” was served. Upon a motion by Mr. Clark, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to be given 30 days or until March 25, 2014, in which to bring the structures into compliance with the code or demolish the structures and clean the lot.  (There were no comments from the public).

Comments:  Mr. Kelly came forward to report that the property as provided by the pictures is no longer opened and work has begun on the structure but no permits have been taken out and everything is left on the side of the road; there are still issues with the property and they have reached out to the owners but have not made any contact with them.
 
2. 1601 Thomas Street (Owner - Minnie Luster c/o Gerald Miles) (Curator) "Notice to Show Cause” was served. Upon a motion by Mr. Clark, seconded by Dr. Armstrong and unanimously approved to be given 30 days or until March 25, 2014, in which to bring the structures into compliance with the code or demolish the structures and clean the lot.  (There were no comments from the public).

Comments:  Mr. Kelly came forward to report that the property is located in District 5 and it is dilapidated and is leaning due to being hit by a vehicle and the property owner never repaired the property.

3. 1303 Olive Street (Owner - Marvai Moore) (Curator) "Notice to Show Cause” was served. Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Dr. Armstrong and unanimously approved to be given 30 days or until March 25, 2014, in which to bring the structures into compliance with the code or demolish the structures and clean the lot.  (There were no comments from the public).

Comments:   Mr. Kelly came forward to report that the property is located in District 4 and that the owner lives out of the state, but that the owner did send a representative to his office.  There hasn’t been any permits taken out nor has any work started on the house.

4. 704 McGee Street (Owner - Shelby Thomas Estate and Glorice Burnett; Otis Cooper, et al) (Curator) "Notice to Show Cause” was served. Upon a motion by Mr. Clark, seconded by Mrs.  Ezernack and unanimously approved to be given 30 days or until March 25, 2014, in which to bring the structures into compliance with the code or demolish the structures and clean the lot.  (There were no comments from the public).

Comments:  Mr. Kelly came forward to report that the property is located in District 5 and according to the pictures it is an open and unsafe structure.

5. 1505 Alabama Street (Owner - Bennie and Peggy Sims) (Curator) "Notice to Show Cause” was served. Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Dr. Armstrong and unanimously approved to be given 30 days or until March 25, 2014, in which to bring the structures into compliance with the code or demolish the structures and clean the lot.  (There were no comments from the public).

Comments:  Mr. Murphy came forward and stated the property is located in District 4 and it is unsafe and dilapidated and that he has spoken with the owner and the owner did put in new windows but they are not put in correctly.


6. 207 Magnolia Street (Owner Pretanual Lawson c/o Clara Bass) (Curator) "Notice to Show Cause” was served. Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to be given 30 days or until March 25, 2014, in which to bring the structures into compliance with the code or demolish the structures and clean the lot.  (There were no comments from the public).

Comments:  Mr. Kelly came forward and reported the structure is located in District 3; it is open, unsafe and dilapidated.

7. 1206 South Fifth Street (Owner - Patricia Williams Johnson) (Curator) "Notice to Show Cause” was served. Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Dr. Armstrong and unanimously approved to be given 30 days or until March 25, 2014, in which to bring the structures into compliance with the code or demolish the structures and clean the lot.  (There were no comments from the public).

Comments:  Mr. Kelly came forward and reported the structure is located in District 4 and it is a burnt and opened structure.

ACCEPTANCE OR REJECTION OF BIDS:  NONE

RESOLUTIONS AND MINUTE ENTRIES:

Department of Administration:

Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to consider request from the MIS Utility Operation Division of the Administration Department for City Council approval to renew a one (1) year supply contract of Mobile Refuse Containers as recommended by the Director of Administration. The vendor is Cascade Engineering Container Group of Grand Rapids, MI and terms and conditions of the contract are to remain the same. The cost of this container is $48.07 and the funds are coming from the Container Account.  (There were no comments from the public).

Comments:  Mr. Wilson asked how many containers are bought per year.  Mr. Toney Gibson stated at least 500 and sometimes a little more than that number.  Mr. Wilson asked if this is bided out and Mr. Gibson said no, they are just trying to renew the contract for one more year.  Mr. Wilson said his concern is that constituents call and said it takes them days and sometimes weeks to get a new trash container.  Mr. Gibson said that he doesn’t have anything to do with the issuing of the containers, but that the Utility Operations Division, Mr. Simmons and Mr. Wesby handles this and only knows that they placed an order for 500 containers a couple of days ago.

Ms. Blakes asked if there was a particular reason why the contract was being renewed and not being bided out.  Mr. Gibson said it was being renewed to save cost, time and money and putting them back out for bids would not guarantee them getting them for $48.  Ms. Blakes asked if we were in violation by not bidding it out.  Mr. Gibson said put a clause in every contract and can put a contract out for three years, bided out and the clause is for renewing the contract two times if prices, terms and conditions of that contract remains the same and this vendor has agreed to renew it with terms remaining the same. Ms. Blakes asked how many years has this been.  Mr. Gibson said this is the last renewal.   

RENEWALS:

(a) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to consider a RENEWAL Application by Raquell Castillo dba The Trial Bar, 213 Olive Street, Monroe, LA for a 2014 Class A Alcoholic Beverage Permit. The Monroe Police Department has no disqualifying records and Sales Tax has been approved. (Distance Report Cleared)  (There were no comments from the public).

(b) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes seconded by Mr. Wilson and approved with Ms. Ezernack abstaining to consider a RENEWAL Application by Jerrel Fontenot dba Vieux Carre Gourmet, 1623 N. 18th, Monroe, LA for a 2014 Class A Alcoholic Beverage Permit. The Monroe Police Department has no disqualifying records and Sales Tax has been approved. (Distance Report Cleared)  (There were no comments from the public).

(c)  Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to consider a RENEWAL Application by Amin Virani LLC dba Smokers Oasis, 1900 Jackson Street, Monroe, LA for a 2014 Class B Alcoholic Beverage Permit. The Monroe Police Department has no disqualifying records and Sales Tax has been approved. (Distance Report Cleared) (There were no comments from the public).

(d) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to consider a RENEWAL Application by Frank, Jeff & Christ Elkins dba Choice Brands, 210 Powell, Monroe, LA for a 2014 Class G Alcoholic Beverage Permit. The Monroe Police Department has no disqualifying records and Sales Tax has been approved. (Distance Report Cleared) (There were no comments from the public).

(e) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to consider an UPGRADE Application by Fannie Reed dba Elite Lounge, 1207 Griffin Street, Monroe, LA for a 2014 Class A Alcoholic Beverage Permit. The Monroe Police Department has no disqualifying records and Sales Tax has been approved. (Distance Report Cleared) (Class C to a Class A) (There were no comments from the public).

(f) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to consider a NEW Application by Mario Mata dba Club Tequila, 3113 Breard Street, Monroe, LA for a 2014 Class A Alcoholic Beverage Permit. The Monroe Police Department has no disqualifying records and Sales Tax has been approved. (Distance Report Cleared) (There were no comments from the public).

(g) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to consider a NEW Application by Joh Howell & Oliver Bahr dba Nonna LLC, 130 Art Ally #B, Monroe, LA for a 2014 Class A Alcoholic Beverage Permit. The Monroe Police Department has no disqualifying records and Sales Tax has been approved. (Distance Report Cleared) (There were no comments from the public).

Department of Planning & Urban Development: NONE.

Legal Department: NONE.

Mayor’s Office:

Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mrs. Ezernack and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6193, authorizing the renewal of the Ambulance Service Agreement with Metro Ambulance Service, Inc., d/b/a American Medical Response and further providing with respect thereto. (There were no comments from the public).

Comments:  Ms. Nell Bradley wanted know how many years the Ambulance Agreement was for.  Mrs. Ezernack said it was for four years according to the paper work.

Department of Public Works:

(a) Upon a motion by Dr. Armstrong, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to consider request from the Water Treatment Plant of the Public Works Department for Council approval to advertise for bids for the purchase of two (2) Sedimentation Basin Collection Units. The estimated costs of the items are $150,000.00. Funds for this purchase will be derived from the Water Capital Fund, which has a balance of $4.9 million.  (There were no comments from the public).

Comments:  Dr. Armstrong asked if the $150,000 cost was for each item.  Mr. Sean Benton stated that the $150,000 was for two units at $75,000 apiece.

(b) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to consider  request from the Water Treatment Plant of the Public Works Department for Council approval to advertise for bids for the purchase of eight (8) 24” Isolation Valves. The estimated costs of the items are $75,000.00. Funds for this purchase will be derived from the Water Capital Fund, which has a balance of $4.9 million. (There were no comments from the public).

Comments:  Dr. Armstrong asked if the $75,000 was for each item.  Mr. Benton said the $75,000 was for all eight valves.  Ms. Blakes asked were the location of the valves would be placed.  Mr. Benton said the valves would be located at the water treatment plants, the isolation valves where different areas of the water come up treatment processes; the plant was built in 1967 and a lot of the valves are obsolete and can’t be repaired and are in the process of being replaced.  Ms. Blakes asked if those were the only valves.  Mr. Benton said only eight and the plant ground.

(c) Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Mrs. Ezernack and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6194, authorizing a request for proposals for an Intermodal Facility Study and further providing with respect thereto. 

Comments:  Ms. Bradley said she understands that there is money for this project and asked if it was a grant and asked if it would take the place of the current bus depot.  Mr. Janway said it is a grant.  Ms. Bradley asked if this project would take the place of the current bus depot.  Mr. Janway answered that this is Intermodal Facility would be a combination of a bus terminal, taxes, grey hound, Amtrak and other modes of transportation.  Ms. Bradley asked shouldn’t we be spending our money elsewhere, repairing the streets, bad sewer lines; she said the bus depot was remodeled not too long ago and realizes that parking is needed.  Mr. Janway said the money is funded one hundred per cent and cannot be used for any other projects such as streets.  He said this is just a feasibility study.  Ms. Bradley said that she opposes.

Mr. Wilson said that we are putting the cart before the horse and we have three proposals to get a manager and here we are looking now to get a new facility. He said the facility was not too long built.  Mr. Janway stated that this is a long range plan that is being looked at by the city and it is not anything that will be completed next year, it would have to be federally funded and it is to enhance the transportation in Monroe.  Mr. Wilson said that the City is looking for a manager to manage the bus system and haven’t put a manager in place but is waiting on the Administration to bring a proposal so that Council can move forward.  Mr. Janway said he didn’t see any relation between a manager and doing an Intermodal Facility Plan.  Mr. Wilson said he doesn’t see a reason to build another facility when there is no manager to manage the new facility.  Mr. Janway said it is a long range project and could be several projects.  Ms. Blakes said the building was built two years ago with a correction from Mr. Janway that it was remodeled two years ago.  Ms. Blakes said we are getting a $100,000 grant from FTA that will strictly be used for the planned study.  Dr. Armstrong understood it to be a no match grant that was for long range planning and if the feasibility study is favorable that it will probably require a match; would certainly like to help in case a match is needed and he doesn’t want to lose out on the grant funding because of not having the match.  Mr. Janway said there would be public participation in the plan and one of the responsibilities of the consultants is to advise on funding resources and this is part of the scope of work.  Dr. Armstrong asked if the public participation meant more taxes.  Mr. Janway said there would be public meetings held to determine the interest of the community.  Ms. Blakes asked if this would be done before the proposal is sent out; Mr. Janway said no, that it is part of the scope of work of the consultant. 
 
Council:  NONE.

Department of Community Affairs:  NONE.

Police Department:   NONE.

Fire Department:

(a) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Ms. Ezernack and unanimously approved to Consider request from the Monroe Fire Department for authorization from City Council for the Purchasing Department to advertise for bids for a one year supply of fire hoses to include 1¾, 2 ½, 4, and 5 inch diameters for the Fire Department. The estimated yearly cost of the hoses is approximately $50,000 and will be funded by the MFD Capital Account which has a balance of approximately $1,400,000.  (There were no comments from the public).

Comments: 

Mr. Wilson asked Chief Williams if he could get back with him on the DBE goals for the upcoming Fire Station Communication Center.

(b) Upon a motion by Mrs. Ezernack, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Consider request from the Monroe Fire Department for authorization from the City Council for the Purchasing Department to advertise for bids for Personal Protective Firefighting Clothing to include firefighting coats, pants, boots, helmets, gloves and hoods for the Fire Department. The estimated yearly cost of the protective clothing is approximately $50,000 and will be funded by the MFD Capital Account which has a balance of approximately $1,400,000.  (There were no comments from the public).

(c) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to Consider request from the Monroe Fire Department for authorization from the City Council for the Purchasing Department to advertise for bids on a one year supply of uniforms for the Fire Department. The estimated yearly cost of the uniforms is approximately $96,000 and will be funded by the MFD General Fund Uniform Account.  (There were no comments from the public).


Engineering Services:

(a) Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6195, authorizing James E. Mayo, Mayor, to execute Close-out Change Order No. Two (2) for an increase of forty-two (42) calendar days and substantial completion to Monroe Civic Center Arena Chiller Replacement, between the City of Monroe and Byrnes Mechanical Contractor, Inc., of said project.  (There were no comments from the public).

Comments:  Ms. Blakes asked Mr. Holland where the $21,000 from the change order would go.  Mr. Holland said the total amount allocated for the project was $257,500 and the Change Order No. 1 was $21,500 and to his knowledge it would go back into the Civic Center and this is money that was saved from the project; Change Order No. 2 was to give the contractor an additional forty two calendar days at no cost and the job was completed at $256,000 and any money not used will be returned back to the original source.

(b) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mr. Wilson with Mr. Wilson and Mrs. Ezernack voting yes; Ms. Blakes, Mr. Clark and Dr. Armstrong voting no; not to consider request to authorize the Purchasing Manager to advertise for bids on Gardner-Denver Thomas Limited Office Renovations Project. The estimated cost of this project is $650,000.00.

Comments:  Ms. Nell Bradley asked what the renovations at Gardner-Denver entailed.  Kim Golden, Interim Engineer responded to the inquiry by stating that the renovations are for the customer entry area.  She said Gardner Denver came to Monroe and said this was needed and is a part of their marketing to get good customers to come.  Ms. Bradley wanted to know why the City had to fund this project.  Ms. Golden said as the Mayor explained this at his press conference, of the $650,000, $400,000 is coming from I-20 Corporation, Gardner Denver is putting in the remaining and they are renovating a building that belong to the City but is paying it back with increased rent and it was part of an incentive plan to keep those jobs here so that they would not move to Michigan.  Ms. Bradley asked what is the rent that the City gets from Gardner Denver and what funds does it go in to.  Ms. Golden said she did not know what the rent was. David Barnes said the funds will go in to the Airport fund and he doesn’t know what the rent is. Ms. Summersgill said to Ms. Bradley that she would get the rent information to her.  Ms. Bradley said please because she has been promised information that she never gets.  Ms. Summersgill said if a number is not given or if her office is not called then she may not remember.  Ms. Bradley gave her number to Ms. Summersgill and Ms. Summersgill said that her number is in the phone book under the Legal Department/Civil; Mr. Clark asked Ms. Summersgill to give to Ms. Bradley her office number.

Ms. Blakes said that if she understood correctly that of the $650,000, $120,000 would be coming out of the I-20 Economic Development Fund and Ms. Golden said no, $400,000 is coming from I-20. 

Dr. Armstrong said he recalled several years ago when the building was expanded that there was $4 million dollars from I-20 that was put into the building which is 4,000 feet away from the borders of the I-20 District.  He said the building is approximately twenty two hundred thousand sq.ft. and the initial rent was $70,000 year for two hundred thousand sq.ft. this is pretty cheap.  Dr. Armstrong said Gardner Denver Thomas is a fine company and that he and Ms. Blakes visited the company and at that time several months ago they employed 240 employees of which 56 were part time and looking at the economic benefit there is no advalorem tax that they pay because we own the building and they pay a rent.  He said he is pertinent to know that we get more than $70,000 a year for a two hundred thousand square foot building.  He also stated that to his knowledge we don’t benefit from sales taxes because they have no product that they sell within the city and the primary benefit that the city have is with employment and this is 56 full time jobs, they are a fine company and am proud to have them here.  Dr. Armstrong said the other concern that he always has is how the City wisely spends the I-20 funds for the best economic benefit for the City, the best bang for the buck. He said these are all of the things that go into his consideration of this matter.

Ms. Bradley asked if there was insurance on the building that could help pay for some of the repairs.  Ms. Golden said it is her understanding that it is not repair work to be done but that it is renovations.  She said the building wasn’t damaged; it is an upgrade to the building per Mr. Holland.

Ms. Blakes acknowledged Gardner Denver Thomas being in District 3 and said there are other businesses that are in District 3 that do pay taxes and we are not renovating or expanding those businesses and she can’t support $400,000 of other businesses tax payers’ money.  She said Home Depot, Lowes and others are paying taxes and we are taking their money to renovate Gardner Denver and can’t support this matter.

Mrs. Ezernack said she remembered within the last several months when the lease was renewed at an increased price.  She said this was done with an understanding that Gardner Denver were going to pay it back with an increased rent what the costs are and certainly what the I-20 Board decides is not in our purview to say they have already committed this and obviously the City made commitments along with the State to lure Gardner Denver to stay in our community and it behooves us to do this and if they leave the building belongs to the City and we can locate someone else into the building and certainly supports this endeavor.

Ms. Golden stated in response to Ms. Blakes and in reference to Mrs. Ezernack notice that the building do belong to the City and the I-20 dollars are being used to improve a City building and it is taxpayer money being used on a taxpayer building, City building; it is not Home Depot which owns its building or Lowes which owns its building, this is I-20 money which is going into publicly owned building and she apologized for not being clear on this.  Dr. Armstrong said in response to this, is that the City does own the building and that we would have responsibility for renovating the building, but that we also have responsibility to make sure that the City get a fair rent for the building and we don’t know the rent amount because we don’t have that information right now and it is very important to know what the rent is.  He said if we could receive a reasonable return from just the rent then he would have no hesitation at all because Gardner Denver is a fine company and am proud to have them here.  Dr. Armstrong said there is limited I-20 money and wanted to know if there was a possibility of general fund money or other money to pay for this renovation and he understands that this is not what is on the table, but it is a question that would like to know the answer to.    
 
(c) Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Consider a request to authorize the Purchasing Manager to reject the bid for Ragan Builders on the Masur Museum Roof Repair Project. The bid results were not within estimated funds.  (There were no comments from the public).

(d) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to Consider a request to authorize the Purchasing Manager to advertise for bids on Monroe Civic Center Generator Project. The estimated cost of this project is $1,700,000.00.

Comments:  Ms. Nell Bradley said that Homeland Security furnished the Civic Center with generators during hurricane season and wanted to know if these generators had anything to do with Homeland Security.  Ms. Golden said she wasn’t sure what Ms. Bradley was referring to but stated that this project is a grant and is pursuant to a cooperative endeavor with Homeland Security and is one hundred percent money to put generators at the Civic Center and the plans are ready to go for bids.  Ms. Bradley then asked if this $1,700,000.00 was all grant money and did the City have to put in any money.  Ms. Golden said it was her understanding that it is all grant money and the City does not have to put in any money.  Mr. Ross came forward and stated that the Civic Center is a shelter during hurricane season and Homeland Security is paying the entire $1.7 for the City to have a generator in place in case of electricity outages during the storms.

Ms. Bryant asked about the large sum of grant money that the City will be receiving and wanted to know if there were any future plans to build another larger Civic Center because it so small you can’t have any attractions there to bring in money to the City.  Mr. Ross responded by saying regardless to the future plans of building another larger facility, that the current Civic Center will still be utilized and that there are no plans to tear it down and it would still be serving as a shelter, hereinafter and this is not City money being used for the generators, it is a grant from Homeland Security.    

(e) Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Dr. Armstrong and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6196, authorizing James E. Mayo, Mayor, to enter into and execute a contract with Arcadis US, Inc. for Professional Engineering Services, for the replacement of the Digester Roofs at the Wastewater Pollution Control Center (WPCC), and further providing with respect thereto.  (There were no comments from the public).

Comments:  Dr. Armstrong commented that he had a statement prepared because he didn’t want to leave any of the details out; he said the contract was for $297,000 and the fee seems a little high to replace two covers and possibly some equipment and they should provide a cost breakdown that displays their projected level of effort by Engineering discipline for each phase which are public works that can evaluate for cost reasonableness.  A possible disconnect is that they are pricing both the evaluations that is preliminary engineering and design services together.  Although until they complete the preliminary engineering study they really do not know what they will be designing; includes the design of yet unknown facilities and equipment.  We need a fee for the preliminary engineering phase only with the design fee to be negotiated at the conclusion of the preliminary phase when the actual items to be designed will be known.  Then they can provide a cost basis for the fee showing the estimated level of effort.  This may be an opportunity to further evaluate a waste water treatment plant that has other problems than those mentioned and may be could even throw in a contract of further evaluation of waste water treatment plan and maybe it could even help us in addressing the consent decree.

Mr. Charles Westrom came forward to say that he wasn’t speaking on behalf of Engineering but was speaking on behalf of the plant and his interest is keeping the the plant in compliance with the EPA consent decree.  He said that the City plant is also under a compliance order from the Louisiana Department of Environmental qualities specifically listing the digester roof; as far as Arcadis was chosen for a couple of reasons, one being is they had lower upfront fees and their competitor had a ten percent fee, they had an eight percent fee.  He said out of the two vendors responded, Arcadis have the most experience doing this project and were tasked with trying to evaluate the Engineering company to find out who was the best qualified to do the job and Arcadis came out on top because of their experience.  He said the scope of the project has been limited to putting a roof on the existing digesters which is some type of fixed aluminum roof and the makeup of the roof would be determined by engineering analysis.  It is desirable to go ahead and do the preliminary engineering and final engineering.  The preliminary engineering is going to be deciding which roof best fits the plant which is the most economical decision for the City and the rest is the design of that roof and the roofs are not significantly different so the cost of the engineering is not going to be significantly different.  Mr. Westrom stated that the $287,000 is the lowest amount that came from the two companies; he asked the Engineering company to look at the facilities in the digester and see once the digester is drained to look and see if everything is in good shape and sided and won’t know this unless the digester is drained once construction has begun.  He said there are two digesters and neither are working at one hundred percent; one is completely gone, the roof is caved in and the other, the roof is stuck and is not producing any gas to burn to provide heat and is spending money to buy natural gas from Atmos supplier when we could be providing our own energy to operate the digesters, so the plant is just limping along and DEQ has noticed and cited the City for it.

Dr. Armstrong noted that the work has to be done and acknowledges that and has heard figures as much as three million dollars to replace it and it has to be done; the only question is to try and get the best deal and these were my thoughts on doing this.  Dr. Armstrong asked the Chairman if it was fair to ask Ms. Golden about this because she may not have had the chance to look at this.  Ms. Golden said that she has had the opportunity to look at it and when she saw the dollar amount she went through the same thought process as he did; she spoke with Chris Patrick at Denmon Engineering about the process and the selection process and to Mr. Westrom to get the background information just given; she said she agrees with Dr. Armstrong’s position as to where he is coming from but in the particular circumstances because they are not functioning and because DEQ is on to them, that it is really in the best interest overall and of the citizens to put it forward the way it is and doesn’t know by doing it in stages because a second engineer coming behind the preliminary would have to do all of the preliminary work again and appreciates the thought process, it was hers also but had time today to look a little deeper.


INTRODUCTION OF RESOLUTIONS & ORDINANCES:

(a) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mr. Clark and unanimously approved to remove from the agenda to Introduce an Ordinance authorizing salary increases for council staff as authorized by the
Chairman and further providing with respect thereto. (Blakes). (There were no comments from the public).

(b) Upon a motion by Mrs. Ezernack, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to Introduce an Ordinance authorizing James E. Mayo, Mayor to purchase off a public bid by the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Department for products and services from Motorola Solutions, Inc. for a new Communications Center for the Monroe Fire Department as per the attached agreement and further providing with respect thereto. (Fire Dept.)

Comments:  Ms. Nell Bradley asked if this was totally different from the New World System in that it was supposed to work together, the Fire Department, Police Department.  MFD Chief Williams said yes it is totally different, New World is totally software and this is communication equipment in the communication facility.  Ms. Bradley asked for the cost of the equipment and Chief Williams said it would be $873, 437.  Chief Williams gave a brief overview in that the location of the current facility is located on the corner of Sixth St. and Olive St. at the Central Fire Station and is approximately 34 years old, when the facility was designed did not have computers and the dispatchers wrote the calls on a piece of paper and have outgrown the facility; the number of communication officers currently have exceeds the living quarters of that facility nor does it facilitate the equipment and most of the equipment that is being used is over twenty years old.  He said property insurance requires that there are different methods of alerting the stations; one method, atone system, radio and written system and if one goes out are required to have another system and basically what have is old worn out equipment and are trying to mitigate a situation won’t be able to get trucks to a scene; right now the system is working but is old and outdated and don’t know if we can get parts for it.  Chief Williams answered the question that Mr. Wilson had about minority contractors and he said what his department is actually doing is piggybacking off of Ascension Parish.  He said Monroe Police Department piggybacked when they built there Communication Center and when spec the ARF truck at the airport, he believes Shreveport piggybacked off of Monroe (need to get with Tony Gibson) because Monroe had gone to work and spec out the truck and did all of the leg work and all they had to do was come in an d piggyback off of what Monroe had done and this is what is being asked for right now. He said as far as minority workers and the amount of work that will be submitted for minority contractors can’t be answered because this is going to be radio equipment and computers, screens and things such as this, the building is already there and we are not constructing a building. 

Mrs. Ezernack thanked Chief Williams for the informative pack of information and also for calling each Council member and explaining it. She said one other thing that Chief Williams did not mention that is critical is in our efforts to retain our Fire classification when they come and do reinspect and recertification.  Chief Williams said this is in 2016, but not only is it critical as a property insurance stand point, but that it is critical that we alert the stations to get them out during a critical scene, that’s the priority, and then it is a Class 1, and Class 1 is no good if can’t get to the scene.  


RESOLUTIONS AND ORDINANCES FOR SECOND READING AND FINAL ADOPTION:

(a) Ordinance No. 11,458 was offered for final adoption by Dr. Armstrong and on his motion, seconded by Ms. Blakes was unanimously approved and adopted.  Authorizing the City of Monroe to take corporeal possession of the property described below for future use by the Monroe Housing Authority said properties having been adjudicated at tax sales dated more than five years ago and further with respect thereto. Dist.5 - (Legal) 

The Chairman opened the Public Hearing: Seeing no one come forward the hearing was declared closed.

(b) Ordinance No. 11,459 was offered for final adoption by Dr. Armstrong and on his motion, seconded by Ms. Blakes was unanimously approved and adopted. Amending Chapter 3, Advertising and Signs, Article III, Mobile Signs, Section 3-16 to3-45 and Article IV, Other Signs, Section 3-70 to 3-75, of the Code of the City of Monroe, Louisiana; repealing all ordinances in conflict herewith. (P&Z)

The Chairman opened the Public Hearing:

Comments:  Ms. Nell Bradley wanted to know if this Ordinance change was on the computer so that she could read it.  Ms. Poret said what this is doing with the new zoning ordinance is the new zoning ordinance includes a sign ordinance and there are sections in the existing that are being taken care of by the new ordinance and these are being deleted and what is going to stay is the off premise of the bill boards.  They will be on the internet when it gets to Municode and she doesn’t know how long it takes; everything is being deleted with the exception of the off premise sign ordinance. 

(c) Ordinance No. 11,460 was offered for final adoption by Mrs. Ezernack and on her motion, seconded by Mr. Clark was unanimously approved and adopted an Emergency Ordinance declaring the need for immediate repairs to the Pope Westminster Storm Water Station and further providing with respect thereto.

The Chairman opened the Public Hearing: Seeing no one come forward the hearing was declared closed.

Comments:  Dr. Armstrong asked the cost of this project. Mr. Westrom stated that this has been an emergency issue, piece of the switch gear burned and have just identified the parts that will be needed and have no prices yet; Ouachita Electric is tasked with doing the repair and they were contacted before the close of business today and they still don’t have prices.  Dr. Armstrong asked Mr. Westrom if he had a ball park figure on the project and Mr. Westrom said he did not, but the damage is major, there are two pieces of equipment that operates from the switchgear and half of the switchgear is gone.  Ms. Blakes asked Mr. Westrom, so in other words, we are giving you a blank check.  Mr. Westrom said a blank check, no what you are doing is protecting the citizens from flood and this is the overall goal here; last year had looked at possibility of replacing the switchgear and it was in the neighborhood of $350,000 a year ago and hopefully it will come in under $100,000.  Dr. Armstrong asked where the money would come from and Mr. Westrom said it would come from storm water account and dare say it would take more money than is in the account this time.

CITIZENS PARTICIPATION:

Ms. Nell Bradley wanted everyone to know that she is still pushing for the handicap lift chairs at the pools and expect them to be in place when the pools are opened and she spoke with Marc Keenan and wants shelters for the buses.  She also stated that we need to do something about our crime; she said she thinks that we have a problem in this city in that some people are treated differently than other people.  Ms. Bradley said when a certain dentist was arrested with two teenagers jumping the fence at the zoo a year or so ago and he was arrested for trespassing and he should have been arrested for contributing to a juvenile and thinks we are having a bad problem, all of our citizens are not being treated equally when it comes to crime and justice and we really need to work on that problem.

Ms. Earline Bradley thanked Mr. Fisher and Councilman Wilson for their visits during her illness.  In south Monroe still have trash coming from other areas that are being dumped in vacant lots; in November the city cut limbs from trees in vacant lots but they did not pick them up, the limbs are still there.  She said on Saturday, she was at a convenience store and a woman was pulled over by the police and when back up came a police officer got out of the patrol car with a big dip in his mouth and it was very unprofessional and felt it took something away from the uniform and she believes the Chief will take care of that matter.

Ms. Evelyn Smith came forward and said that she had a sewage problem and have been trying to get some help.  She said each time someone comes out they will tell her that it is her fault.  She said she began to walk the neighborhood and every house in the neighborhood has the same situation; the houses are old houses and she has been told that the lines are tied into one and now the sewage is all backed up and it smells in everybody house. As a homeowner, pay taxes (sewage) and she asked if someone could come out to see what can be done.  She said the lines are old and she has been told that there are roots growing in the pipes and it is not her fault; when she bought the home she wasn’t told that the lines were tied together with each home and she has been at this for a long time and would like to know if the city would just check and see what they could do, she took pictures of the problem as it is very to live their right now and the weather is cool right now but when it gets hot, what will they be able to do then.

Mr. Clark directed Ms. Smith to Mr. Janway and to Mr. Westrom who could assist her with this matter by getting with them after the meeting and they could possibly find a way to assist her with this issue.

Ms. Brandy Sims came forward and said she was the neighbor to Ms. Smith and said that when she called the city, they told her that the problem was on the homeowner.  She said she recently received a Community Housing grant for $25,000 and they were supposed to have gone in and redone the plumbing and when she called the Community Development Department, she was told that it was on her and when she did get a plumber to come out and check it, they did not find anything on her line.  She said even before this, the city has always told them that the problem is on their end and no one has ever come; when she called two to three times last week, she said she doesn’t work so she was at home and no one ever came. 

Mr. Clark commended them for coming and voicing their concern and asked Ms. Sims to get with Mr. Westrom and he should be able to get her some relief.

There being no further business to come before the council, the meeting was adjourned at 7:21 p.m., upon motion of Ms. Blakes and seconded by Mr. Clark.

Mr. Eddie Clark
Chairman

Carolus S. Riley
Council Clerk

Jacqueline Benjamin
Council Secretary

*For extended details on the council meeting please call the Council Clerk Monday-Friday at
329-2252 to schedule an appointment to listen to the minutes tape.

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