Monroe City Council Minutes
Dr. Raymond A. Armstrong
Mrs. Gretchen H. Ezernack
Ms. Betty Blakes
Mr. Kenneth Wilson
Mr. Eddie Clark
CITY OF MONROE, LOUISIANA
Post Office Box 123
Monroe, Louisiana 71210-0123
Phone (318) 329-2252
Fax (318) 329-3416
March 25, 2014
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 Raymond Armstrong, Vice 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 and Mr. Wilson.
There was absent: Mr. Clark.
Vice Chairman Armstrong announced that a quorum was present and that the Invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance would be led by Mayor Mayo.
Vice Chairman Armstrong proceeded by acknowledging the time for special announcements and/or communications.
Ms. Ezernack welcomed each one present to tonight’s meeting.
Ms. Blakes welcomed everyone present and thanked them for coming to tonight’s Council Meeting. Ms. Blakes presented the Spring planter complete with gladiola’s bulbs, souvenirs from City Departments as well as gift cards. She said the basket would be given to a lucky winner who entered into a drawing to help Council come up with a Mission Statement for the new Council Website. The deadline for the drawing is May 1, 2014.
Mr. Wilson welcomed everyone present tonight, especially citizens from District 4. Mr. Wilson said he received a call from the Marshall’s office in reference to some homes in the District did not have a visible address number on them; if anyone is aware of a senior citizen age 65 or older to call him at 789-9519 or call the City Council office and he will assist in getting them address numbers for their homes. He acknowledged the Boys to Men Program, and thanked the two participants Demario Watson and Deshaun who assisted with planting a flower bed on last Saturday at the corner of Orange and South 8th Street and also the other participants who assisted within the last six months. Mr. Wilson talked about illegal dumping, one of his major concerns within his District and the City is to get it clean. He explained the City of Monroe Anti-Litter Ordinance which was passed in April 25, 2006 and in Chapter 21 there are rules, regulations and penalties for any violation of the Ordinance. It states that homeowners are responsible that litter is prevented as well as making the landlord responsible for any litter violation occurring at the rental property and asked that everyone will get on the same page in attacking this critical issue and that all citizens participate in the Great American Cleanup. Mr. Wilson said he drove throughout the City and saw so much litter and will be talking to the Landlords as well as our Legal Department for giving stiff penalties to violators.
Mayor Mayo mentioned the Garden and Gun magazine with a competition that is focusing on 32 cities throughout the south which includes the City of Monroe (only two other Louisiana cities mentioned and they were Breaux Bridge and Natchitoches) the competition is similar to the March madness voting bracket and asking that everyone will go to the website and vote for our city as we are very close in the polls with Natchitoches and am asking the city and the parish as well as Sterlington to vote; the website to vote is http://gardenandgun.com/article/southern-towns-bracket. It’s a chance to show that we are proud of Monroe and to give us a chance to expose ourselves nationally and to welcome folks into our community, which ultimately will help us with tax revenue.
Dr. Armstrong welcomed everyone to tonight’s meeting and being interested in what we do in the City Council and the City of Monroe; thanks for participation.
Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Mrs. Ezernack to adopt the minutes of the Legal And Regular Session Of March 11, 2014 and The Legal and Special Meeting Of February 24, 2014 were unanimously approved. (There were no comments from the public).
PUBLIC HEARINGS: NONE.
1. 609 Atkinson Street (D5) (Owner - Lula Clark Est c/o Rosa Cann) (Curator) "Notice to Show Cause” was served. Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to be given 90 days or until June 25, 2014, in which to bring the structures into compliance with the code or demolish the structures and clean the lot.
Comments: Ms. Blakes said she spoke with Legal about this District 5 property and would handle it in the absence of Councilman Clark.
Mr. Kelly came forward to report that someone was present on behalf of a client that dealt with the property which Code Enforcement received the property in May of last year. Mr. Kelly explained that there is legal action and a suit and Attorney Bruscato is present tonight to speak on behalf of his client. Attorney Bruscato came forward to say that he represented a Ms. Pamela Singleton with a lawsuit against the estate of Lula Clark as well as an individual who is leasing the property. He said the property was the best means of recovery for his client and wanted to get the property taken off of condemnation until there is a resolution of the lawsuit filed with City Court, as the trial date is set for June 19, 2014 and at that time if the trial is a success, will seize the property on behalf of his client. He believes that once the property is seized that it will be brought to standard and made habitable and believes it was habitable when the client lived there several months ago.
Ms. Blakes asked Legal Department, Ms. Summersgill, what her suggestion would be on this matter. Ms. Summersgill said it was mentioned to Ms. Blakes that the Council would consider giving Mr. Bruscato, ninety days. She said the reason he was here tonight was because the property was a nuisance and needed to get notice to the present owners and now that there is notice given, then Council can extend to them ninety days (90), normally thirty (30) days is given which the ninety days would take them to June but at that time in June something has to be done with the property. She told the Attorney that he has to understand that service has already been brought to the owners and they can’t just take the service off.
Mr. Freddie Cann came forward to say that his family was the owner of the property and that the lawyer and his clients are trying to illegally seize the property. He said his family will bring the property up to standard to where it will need to be, it is not in bad shape at all. He doesn’t know why the City is condemning, because there is a house next door that is falling down and there aren’t any condemn signs on that particular house. He said the house has a small hole in the floor, there is nothing wrong with the dwelling, windows. He said the family has started work on the house and they wanted to pay the clients off for the damages of falling down and hurting them in the house, but that the Attorney wants to seize the house, this is why they stopped working on the house. He said his family will fight the Attorney for the property because his grandmother and the great mother lived in the house and they will not give this Attorney the property and don’t mind paying the medical expenses, but will not give him the house.
Mr. Kelly said that you can’t tell from the pictures what the issues are because the issues are in the house, there are electrical issues, plumbing issues, and it is an older home. He said someone did fall through the floor of the house and this is the issue with the client and will not talk about the case, because they are not in support of the client but want what’s done right.
2. 4307 South Grand Street (D4) (Owner - Christina B,. Joshua & Emily Elliott). (Curator) "Notice to Show Cause” was served. Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to be given 30 days or until April 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 reported that the property was condemned with the previous owners and have been brought back before Council to be condemned under the new owners.
3. 2210 Gordon Avenue (D4) (Owner - Asset Venture, Inc.) (Curator) "Notice to Show Cause” was served. Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to be given 30 days or until April 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).
Mr. Kelly reported this property has been in Environmental Court and the owner never rectified the compliance matter.
4. 1906 Adams Street (D3) (Owner - Martin Temple Christian Methodist Episcopal Church). (Curator) "Notice to Show Cause” was served. Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to be given 120 days or until July 25, 2014, in which to bring the structures into compliance with the code or demolish the structures and clean the lot.
Comments: Mr. Murphy reported this property was being brought back before Council for review and as the pictures indicated the roof now has more signs of deterioration. The gable has a hole and the shingles are beginning to blow off the roof.
Mr. David Hartfield Dyels, Pastor of the Martin Temple CME Church was present to talk about the plans that the congregation has for the church. He said there is a hole in the roof but that there is a structural process on how the building is cleaned to rectify the issue. He said the first stage was to clean the basement area and this has been done, so that the workers can get to the part of the roof that has fallen into the basement. He brought pictures of the basement before and after, as well as March 22, 2014 the front of the church. Mr. Dyels told Council that the Church took out a General Liability Insurance Policy on the building since last year which covers them up to two million dollars, in case anyone gets hurt on the property and had a copy of the receipt for payment. He also brought a letter from the State of Louisiana pointing out the church as being designated a Historical Landmark in in two different categories in which this is a process in that there are only three meetings per year with the Historical Selection Committee; he also brought two proposal from contractors and one showing the phase one and what the church need to do as its next phase and that is to clear out all of the building and once this is done, the roof will be addressed and can move on to making Martin Temple the great Church that it was. He mentioned the launching of the campaign, 1906 because the address of the Church is 1906 Adams Street and ask that all Council members be a part of this campaign and it calls for 1,906 people to give $190.60 and will bring to a wonderful campaign of the church being done and it being done debt free. He said the plans are not for the building to sit the way it is much longer and will submit documents to Council for review that would indicate the proper progress on the building. Ms. Blakes asked that the documents be given to Legal, Ms. Summersgill.
Ms. Thelma Stevenson, Minister, St. James United Methodist Church in partnership with Martin Temple spoke about the 1906 campaign moving forward and they jointly are providing services to the community and the services are much needed in the District area. She said most anyone from Monroe got their start at Martin Temple whether it was head start, bible school and was asking that everyone get involved in the campaign.
Ms. Summersgill stated according to the documents that it appeared the church is being considered for the Historical Registry and they are moving forward according to the pictures presented tonight.
Ms. Marie Brown came forward and asked Council for support of the building and mentioned the Church being able to be placed on the Registry.
Ms. Nell Bradley came forward and said the last time the Code Enforcement brought the church before Council, that she felt it should not be torn down and doesn’t understand why the Black community won’t fight for the Church. She said it does not need to be destroyed but it does need to be saved.
Ms. Blakes said the Church has been given six months and if the Church had given the insurance information prior to tonight’s Council meeting, it possibly could have been taken off of tonight’s Agenda. She asked Ms. Summersgill what could be done legally in this matter. Ms. Summersgill said she doesn’t think Council wants to destroy anything of Historical significance, but sometimes you must get the attention of those folks who want to save something; the Church was identified as a danger and now we need to move forward; her suggestion was to move forward tonight and that Council can remove from agenda if it’s their pleasure, but that her suggestion is that since everyone from the Church is present tonight to give the Church 90 days and then they can come back in to show what they have done and we can know that the people are still moving on the matter.
Rev. Dyels said he didn’t want the property being ruled to be condemned until they come back to Council. Ms. Summersgill explained to Rev. Dyels how the condemnation process works and said they could come back and ask for additional time; this is a way to get it going and keep on board with someone coming back to say how things are going; you have six months and if you need more time and moving on it and getting your funds together and then come back. Rev. Dyels said Mr. Murphy has been wonderful and would like to continue working with him to avoid having to come back before Council, because he said they will be busy working in stages and phases. Ms. Summersgill said that was fine. Mrs. Ezernack stated that Council would like to know in ninety days how the progress is going with the campaign and other renovations that have planned and this can be reported to Mr. Murphy and tell us at another meeting or give us an update by email, because obviously we want to save the structure for it means a lot to the community and want to work with you, but the Church has to make it happen on their end and it seems the Church is moving forward with it.
Mr. Murphy requested that the Church would give a written statement to have for the files on their plans and how far they would have come along. Ms. Blakes said there was a request to come inside the building to take pictures, but was not permitted to do so. Mr. Murphy stated that if he asks Rev. Dyels to allow him to go into the building that he does not have to give him permission to enter since it is a secured building and being that it is unsafe as well, it is preferred to not go inside of the building because of the danger. Rev. Dyels asked the Council if anyone was willing to donate $190.60 to the campaign; Mr. Wilson said that he would support the campaign with the donation.
Dr. Armstrong made a correction that the time given for the Church is four months and not six months.
Mr. Wilson asked Rev. Dyels if he was happy with the time given and Rev. Dyels said that he was.
5. 328 North 10th Street (D4) (Owner - Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church). (Curator) "Notice to Show Cause” was served. Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to be given 120 days or until July 25, 2014, in which to bring the structures into compliance with the code or demolish the structures and clean the lot.
Comments: Mr. Kelly reported this property was brought to Council previously in August; according to the pictures, nothing has been done and understands that Rev. Griffin wants to save the house. Rev. Griffin, Pastor of Zion Hill Baptist Church came forward and said he is renovating a total of four houses that were owned by Marbles Barbecue; he said they were in the process of remodeling and the house the city is condemning, a contractor was called in; the church had a board meeting because the contractor, Mr. Victor Henderson passed away and since that time they have not gotten another contractor because they are working on the other buildings in the inside. He said they purchased the properties and that they are important to the Church, because they are a nonprofit and they do free taxes for the low income and will fix the properties up and use them for battered women and food bank for feeding people. He said they applied for a grant through the city but did not receive the grant and is using Church money to do what need to be done to the houses and if the Church doesn’t fix the house then they will remove the house.
Mr. Wilson looked over the pictures of the property and asked Rev. Griffin if they could get something going, because the structure was still open. Rev. Griffin said the property was still open, the tree was removed from the top of the building and have yet not started on the top of it. Rev. Griffin said his intentions were to have had the top on the building but due to the weather and the passing of the contractor, it hasn’t been done. Mr. Wilson asked would ninety days be sufficient time to get the structure covered; Rev. Griffin said he would need more than ninety days; four months. Ms. Summersgill said one of the things that have happened is in getting notice to the owners and the last time it wasn’t condemned. they were given ninety days and when you condemn and give them time, it moves things forward to getting it done.
6. 1306 South 2nd Street ((D4) (Owner - Peggy Joyce Murray Smith) (Curator) "Notice to Show Cause” was served. Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to be given 120 days or until July 25, 2014, in which to bring the structures into compliance with the code or demolish the structures and clean the lot.
Comments: Mr. Kelly reported that the property was located in District 4, it is opened and tires are being dumped in the rear of the property and would like to see the problem removed; Ms. Summersgill asked Mr. Kelly if he had service on the property and Mr. Kelly responded his office did have service along with a signed green card. Ms. Summersgill stated that the owner lives out of the state in Texas and that her office did not have signed card.
Mr. Steve Dans, the son in law of the property owner, stated that the properties were invested for Ms. Smith years ago for her retirement; he said he didn’t realize the condition of the properties and that it has been vandalized, about two years ago when the previous renter moved out, the wiring was ripped out, the kitchen was destroyed; he said the property is boarded up and they are putting money together but have other properties; he said he has mowed it and kept it clean, but didn’t know they were at this level with the property and would like some time to get the property up to code. He said the property is coming into his name and has been managing them and wants to make it a good rental property on the street.
Mr. Kelly said to Council to get the structure secured and get the tires removed from the property, and the tree cut down; Mr. Dans said the tree was on the other property and falling down on his property. He said he didn’t know what to do with the tires and Mr. Janway offered his assistance to Mr. Dans with the tires. It was also mentioned that Public Works accepts five tires per day and anyone can drop them off at Public Works.
ACCEPTANCE OR REJECTION OF BIDS:
(a) Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Mrs. Ezernack and unanimously approved to Accept the bid of EDCO of Monroe, LA for Spraying Cemeteries Ref # 85-1105 as recommended by the Director of Administration as being the lowest bidder and meets the specification of this bid and has been cleared by the Tax & Revenue Division. The estimated cost for the project is $9,450.00 and funds will be derived from the Spraying Account.
Comments: Ms. Bradley asked if there was someone in Public Works that would allow us to do our own spraying. Mr. Janway said Public Works does not have the equipment to spray forty acres of cemetery and spraying a special mix of growth retardant and spray approximately three times during the growing season.
(b) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mrs. Ezernack and unanimously approved to Accept the bid of Weed Pro, Swartz, LA for Spraying Drainage Channels & Levies Ref # 85-1104 as recommended by the Director of Administration as being the lowest bidder and meets the specification of this bid and has been cleared by the Tax & Revenue Division. The estimated cost for the project is $23,000.00 and funds will be derived from the Spraying Account.
Comments: Ms. Bradley asked for the account fund balance after the $23,000 is paid. Mr. Janway replied this is part of the drainage fund and the total drainage budget is over one million dollars and this is the lowest spray numbers seen since being with City. Ms. Bradley asked if all ditches would be sprayed and he said certain major drainage channels have been identified in the City and have added to those over the years and will continue to add to them. Ms. Bradley asked if these were all located on the south side where you have ditches; Mr. Janway said it is where the open ditches are located and that would be north, south, east and west of the City.
(c) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mrs. Ezernack and unanimously approved to Accept the bid of United Automation of West Monroe, LA for Surveillance Equipment for the Water Treatment Plant Ref # 85-0983 as recommended by the Director of Administration as meeting the specification of this bid and has been cleared by the Tax & Revenue Division. The estimated cost for the project is $45,472.00 and funds will be derived from the Water Treatment Capital Account. (There were no comments from the public).
RESOLUTIONS AND MINUTE ENTRIES:
Department of Administration:
(a) Upon a motion by Mrs. Ezernack, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to remove from the Agenda to Consider an Application by Terri Barnes dba Washington St. Jazz Club, 800 Washington Street #B-3, Monroe, LA 71201 for a 2014 Class A Alcoholic Beverage Permit. The Monroe Police Department has no disqualifying records and Sales Tax has been approved. (Distance Report NOT Cleared) (This item was passed over at the last meeting) (There were no comments from the public).
(b) Upon a motion by Mrs. Ezernack, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Consider request from the MIS Utility Operation Division, of the Administration Department for approval to advertise for an RFP on Water Meter Parts and Supplies. Funds for this request for proposal will come from the Parts Account. Once the contract has been selected the purchases will be on an as needed basis.
Comments: Ms. Bradley said she had questions about this and when she spoke with Mr. Janway she thought when the new water meters were purchased that the contract would have included parts and extra meters and someone should have be thinking ahead and using common sense knowing that new houses would be built; she doesn’t think this is for residential, this is what she was told.
Mr. Barnes said the parts could not be put in the original contract and this is strictly for parts, replacements of the meters already installed. He said there are commercial that have to be purchased that were not in the original contract.
Department of Planning & Urban Development: NONE.
(a) Upon a motion by Mrs. Ezernack, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6200, approving and authorizing a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement by and between the City of Monroe and the University of Monroe as per the attached agreement and further providing with respect thereto.
Comments: Ms. Nell Bradley asked if any money from the City was involved and would the City be liable for this event. Ms. Summersgill said the University has to provide insurance and the City would not be out of any money. Ms. Bradley said she listened to the ULM Radio and one of the sponsors for ULM Baseball was the City of Monroe’s Transit; she asked how much was being given. Dr. Armstrong said this question was not pertinent to the Agenda item and for Ms. Bradley to get with Ms. Summersgill and or Mr. Barnes.
Mayor’s Office: NONE.
Department of Public Works: NONE.
Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6201, granting an exception to the Open Container Ordinance to the Downtown Economic Development District (Downtown River Jam) pursuant to Monroe City Code Sec. 12- 231 D. (Open Container Ordinance), and further providing with respect thereto.
Comments: Mr. Hackney expressed his opposition to the open containers in public places; because he says City was against smoking and that cigarettes don’t have nearly as much health risks as alcohol and doesn’t understand why adults tell kid’s alcohol is wrong, yet put it under their nose every day. He said City can do whatever they want but is going against everything they stand for when they issue open containers; if someone is walking down the street with an open container then they will be arrested; he wanted to know what the difference is; he said it is absolutely wrong to have open container when there are children around.
Ms. Bradley asked if this function was a private function or was the City backing this function. Cole McCann came forward as Chairman of his nonprofit to say this function is done in Bres Park in conjunction with the Art Crawl for the revitalization and development of downtown Monroe; the event does have security, MPD, the children are not allowed to drink alcohol, just twenty one and over age is allowed and it is a family friendly event and the alcohol will be provided as contracted to provide alcohol by the Civic Center. Ms. Bradley said when she tried to rent Forsythe Park, she had to pay rent fee and had to have liability insurance of four million dollars and asked Mr. Cann, if he had to do the same; he responded yes. Ms. Summersgill said that she didn’t know who told Ms. Bradley that she had to have four million dollars’ worth of liability insurance, it is only a million required. Ms. Bradley said this is the problem in the City, all people are not created equal.
Department of Community Affairs: NONE.
Police Department: NONE.
Fire Department: NONE.
(a) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mrs. Ezernack and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6202, accepting the bid of Breck Construction Company, Inc., in the amount of
$2,229,000.00, for the relocation of ARFF Station – Monroe Regional Airport, and further
authorizing James E. Mayo, Mayor, to enter into and execute a contract for said work. (There were no comments from the public).
(b) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mrs. Ezernack and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6203, accepting as substantially complete work done by and between the City of Monroe and Amethyst Construction, Inc., for Tower-Armand Connector Project, and further providing with respect thereto.
Comments: Ms. Bradley asked if a certificate of approval had already been given to this company before the ribbon cutting and asked that the City not approve a job until it is done.
Ms. Golden said the public lien law which applies to this job, requires that projects be given substantial completions toward the running of the lien period; 45-60 days will be coming back for the final acceptance and are in compliance with the statute.
Mr. Devon Hall came forward to congratulate the city on a job well done of the Tower-Armand Project. Mrs. Ezernack thanked him for his patience during the construction work on the project.
(c) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to Consider request to authorize the Purchasing Manager to advertise for bids on the Masur Museum and Carriage House Roof Repairs Project. The estimated cost of this project is $140,000.00. (There were no comments from the public).
(d) Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Mrs. Ezernack and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6204, authorizing James E. Mayo, Mayor, to enter into and execute a contract
with Denmon Engineering for Engineering Services, for the necessary surveying and engineering
to construct several projects, including this proposed project (Monroe Regional Airport –
Perimeter Road Design – Phase I & II), and further providing with respect thereto.
Comments: Mr. Hackney came forward to say that he doesn’t understand why Denmon Engineering is being given two contracts when the City is supposed to have hired an engineer to do the work and if the City is going to hire Denmon Engineering, then the City does not need to be paying Ms. Kim Golden. He asked why we are paying twice for the same services. Ms. Golden said engineering of the two jobs are well outside the scope of work current engineering staffing of the department. She said the office of engineering is provided by in the charter to do certain things and the airport is not one of those things, and Denmon has been satisfactory to the airport and this is why it’s being brought to Council. Ms. Blakes asked for the cost of the projects. Mr. Holland came forward to say that Denmon Engineering has a master agreement authorized with the City of Monroe, whereas, they handle all of the projects on the air side as well as the land side of the airport and are mostly funded through FAA and or DOTD if not both and their services are included. Mr. Ron Phillips said the total cost was 1.9 million dollars. Ms. Blakes asked if this was city money and Mr. Holland said it was not city money, funded through DOTD for FAA.
Ms. Golden stated for the record, that these particular Denmon Projects are part of the master services agreement which have gone through the RFP process that is necessary for Federal funding. She said we are in line with the procurement processes and the fees were established through the process as well.
(e) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mrs. Ezernack and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6205, authorizing James E. Mayo, Mayor, to enter into and execute a contract
with Denmon Engineering for Engineering Services, for the necessary surveying and engineering
to construct several projects, including this proposed project (Monroe Regional Airport – South
Ramp Rehabilitation), and further providing with respect thereto. (There were no comments from the public).
INTRODUCTION OF RESOLUTIONS & ORDINANCES:
(a) Upon a motion by Mrs. Ezernack, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Introduce an Ordinance authorizing the City of Monroe to acquire full ownership interest of the property described as Lots 58 and 59, Square D, Robinson Place Addition, Monroe, La, by adjudication at tax sale dated August 1, 1991, and further with respect thereto. (dist.5) (Legal) (There were no comments from the public).
(b) Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Introduce an Ordinance adopting the 2014-2015 budget submitted by the mayor of the City of Monroe and further providing with respect thereto. (Dr. Armstrong)
Comments: Ms. Blakes stated that she noticed Carroll High School had not been placed on the list for sidewalks and asked if there was any way that the Ordinance could be amended to include Carroll High School sidewalks.
Dr. Armstrong said he had discussions with Mr. Barnes, Mr. Heard, Ms. Haynie and the Mayor relative to the budget and worked through and agreed to accept the budget as presented by the Mayor and the Council presented to him a wish list. The Mayor found $400,000 in the budget with the help of his staff to assist Council in accomplishing the items on the wish list with Crime being on the top of the list. Dr. Armstrong said Council can’t tell the Mayor how to spend the money, because of the issue of crime in the city we looked at the possibility of the increase of patrol, looked at training and education, street lights, fixing the cemetery and this is a part of the wish list. The Mayor promised us at this point in time that he would do everything he could as money became available and if it became available to accomplish everything on the list and the question goes back to Ms. Blakes about other sidewalks, as there were other sidewalks listed on the wish list. Dr. Armstrong said in trying to work together with the Mayor, the Council got a commitment from the Mayor to work with Council and if at all possible to accomplish the list as money became available and the money may not become available, but at least there was a commitment from the Mayor to try.
Mayor Mayo stated that as critical as he was on last year of Council concerning the budget, that he wanted to be complimentary of Council input and communication this year concerning the budget. He commended Dr. Armstrong and Mr. Wilson and stated he doesn’t know what else will be said by Council tonight, but went to say that he commended all of Council for their input and things that Council have asked for concerning the budget. The Mayor said he had met with two of the Councilmen on yesterday about the budget, but had also met with other Council members previously and although hadn’t talked about the budget per se, but had a very good meeting. The Mayor stated in reference to the sidewalks, that there were two listed on the wish list which included Lincoln and Barkdull Faulk, but he stated to Councilwoman Blakes that he had no issue with including Carroll High School sidewalks and can add it to this list. He stated there were nine items on the list and when he spoke with the Council members, there are two items that are long term projects as the list is not all inclusive and does not have a problem with the added item.
Mr. Wilson said he enjoyed the meeting that he and Vice Chairman Armstrong had with the Mayor. He continued to say going forward that he spoke about Emily P Robinson and the other centers to install computers at all of them and also to promote the centers. He recognized Mr. Johnson in the audience and that Mr. Johnson talked about the baseball field at Lida Benton Park and understands there is not a lot of action going on there but Mr. Wilson asked that they could work together to get the baseball field moving. Mr. Wilson again, thanked the Mayor, as well as Mr. Barnes, Mr. Heard for working together with Council on the wish list for amount approximately of one half million dollars that are going to the people and believe we are off to a good start. He said the Mayor said he is open; talked about the open ditches and am sure Mr. Hackney is concerned about the illegal dumping; talked about the drainage problems in District 3,45 as well as District 1,2, as the Mayor was opened to all of the items. Mr. Wilson commended the Mayor for taking the steps and meeting in the middle. Mr. Wilson paraphrased the bible about meeting in the middle; coming together and reasoning together, then the city can move forward; there can be one city with one vision.
Mrs. Ezernack asked Ms. Summersgill in reference to Agenda Items B and D, if Item D was needed because has Item B. Ms. Summersgill asked Mr. Barnes his opinion about the question asked by Mrs. Ezernack. Mr. Heard came forward to answer the inquiry and his response was that it is a requirement to advertise the budget for information under Item D will be given to Council Clerk for advertisement purposes.
Mr. Barnes stated that Agenda Item B was really not needed, in that it takes precedence over Agenda Item D. Mrs. Ezernack stated that it doesn’t hurt to do both and Mr. Barnes said no, it does not.
Mayor Mayo stated the Administration really appreciates the fact that the budget submitted will be intact and the commitments will be addressed as the Council wishes and also when they are prioritized. He stated in addition, that there is also $200,000 that has been committed to the SEDD which represents District’s 3,4,5; the six restrooms; entrance to the zoo, 165 Business connector which totals 3.4 million dollars for Districts 3,4,5 and some in District 2 that will be invested in addition to the operating budget that was submitted.
Ms. Blakes said she noticed last year that there were only fifty summer jobs and this year there were fifty added. She wanted to know if the total for this year was 200 jobs. Mayor Mayo responded by saying the current total amount of summer jobs is at 165 which includes CDBG, the Green Teens and Community Affairs. He said 250 was mentioned but that would mean an additional 85 jobs, this amount may be stretching in terms of the staff that the City have, but the number can be brought up to 200.
Ms. Summersgill asked Ms. Blakes if she wanted to amend the wish list to include Carroll High School. Ms. Blakes said amending the wish list would not be necessary; she stated she would take the Mayor at his word to include the sidewalks at Carroll High School.
Dr. Armstrong commented that the Mayor had gotten everything that he wanted and he believes the Council got everything that they wanted too. Ms. Blakes said no, Council did not get everything they wanted but it is a start.
(c) Upon a motion by Mrs. Ezernack, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to Introduce an Ordinance adopting a Capital Improvements Program for the City of Monroe and providing for a detailed statement of the contents for a five (5) year period from May 1, 2014 to April 30, 2019. (Admin.)
Comments: Ms. Bradley asked why the Capital Improvements Program had to be done for five years and doing it this way wouldn’t it lock in the next Mayor to what is voted on tonight.
Mr. Barnes said it was required by the City of Monroe Charter. Ms. Bradley said her question wasn’t answered and Mr. Barnes responded that if she read the Charter it will answer her question. Ms. Bradley asked if she could get a Charter. Ms. Blakes said Ms. Benjamin, Council Office would supply Ms. Bradley with a Charter. Ms. Bradley asked that whatever is in the Capital Budget, it will be locked in for five years and the next Mayor can’t change anything. Mr. Barnes responded that this is changed every year, is the reason that it is submitted; it is a rolling number. Dr. Armstrong said it is a dynamic document and will change as the needs of the City changes.
(d) Upon a motion by Mrs. Ezernack, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Introduce an Ordinance adopting a Budget of Revenues and providing for an estimate of items and expenditures for the fiscal year 2014-2015. (Admin.) (There were no comments from the public).
RESOLUTIONS AND ORDINANCES FOR SECOND READING AND FINAL ADOPTION:
1. Mr. Devon Hall said he was pleased with the work in his District and to continue doing a good job. He also said all Districts should come together and work together and clean up the City. He said he is willing to do his part to clean up the city. Mr. Greg Smith, Keep Monroe Beautiful Director, came forward and shared information about the upcoming Great American Cleanup date is April 12, 2014 beginning at 8:30 a.m. , Monroe City Hall with the rally and supply hand out. Mr. Smith gave the website of www.ouachitagreen.org to get more information on the coalition and for registration. He said a Litters against Litter is scheduled for April 11, 2014 and am asking groups, church’s to come together for the Cleanup. Also, if the community can come together one Saturday out of the month and do cleanups, the tools are located at the recreation centers or come to City Hall to pick up. Ms. Marie Brown is having a rake day in the South 3rd and 4th Street areas. He mentioned the parish area shoe drive that will take place in the schools and Steve trash, the magician will be at the Monroe Civic Center for April 13 and 14th and was brought by way of a grant. The household hazardous waste day is scheduled for Saturday, March 29, 2014 at ULM between 9am-1pm; five tires per day per residence can be brought to Public Works at 1200 Grammont Street.
2. Ms. Nell Bradley complained about the issue of stray cats in her neighborhood and asked if she could trap the cats and call Code Enforcement to get them. Ms. Summersgill said she did not think she could trap the cats but to call Code Enforcement. The number for Code Enforcement was given to Ms. Bradley. Ms. Bradley said to Mr. Barnes that her son’s water was cutoff when he paid it online and is now glad that someone with authority and a little more pull than she did to get Mr. Barnes to change his mind and now the people will not get cut off when they pay their water bill online.
3. Mr. Wayne Hackney came forward to say that he rode through South Monroe and some of the trash has been picked up and he thanked the City for picking it up. He said there are other things that have not been picked up on Railroad Avenue where there are two piles of tires that have been dumped by someone who has a shop, because one person is not going to dump 20 tires and then there is another location that has 25-30 tires dumped. Mr. Hackney asked Ms. Summersgill if she had announced the new state law about trash. Ms. Summersgill said the City of Monroe’s is modeled after the State law and Mr. Hackney said there aren’t any teeth in it yet. Ms. Summersgill said that she would have to look at the law, she doesn’t recall it. Mr. Hackney said there are people who clean yards and when they are done cleaning the yards they put the trash in ditches; he caught one dumping the trash and Mr. Hackney said the police came out and caught the violator. Ms. Summersgill said the City encourages citizens to turn in the information of the violators so that the proper action can be taken and appreciates Mr. Hackney and others for doing this.
4. Ms. Earlene Bryant said the city cut limbs from trees on vacant lots in November of 2013 at 3206 and 3210 Polk Street and the limbs are still there. She said if someone doesn’t come down to that location and pick up the limbs, the grass will have grown over the limbs and when it is time to bush hog the grass on the lot they will not be able to see the limbs because of the growth and a machine could be damaged.
There being no further business to come before the council, the meeting was adjourned at 7:51 p.m., upon motion of Ms. Blakes and seconded by Mr. Wilson.
Dr. Raymond Armstrong
Carolus S. Riley
*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.