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

April 8, 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 Dr. Armstrong’s designee, Father Joe, Christ is King Chapel, ULM.

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

Dr. Armstrong thanked the City employees who were out in the rainy inclement weather cleaning out ditches.  He went out and spoke to some of them and they had such a good spirit, and they helped a lot of people and he really appreciates them.  Also, Dr. Armstrong said he has a tree program in which he has had for about ten years; this program consists of taking bare root trees, replanting them into pots and growing them out for public use; last year his program was able to send six hundred trees to schools, recreation centers and other public entities; this year bald cypress and white ash trees were planted and they are available for public use only and are free.

Mrs. Ezernack welcomed everyone to tonight’s meeting and offered her appreciation for their participation in the meeting.  She also thanked the City workers for their assistance during the rain this past weekend during the horrible conditions.  She said they did what they could to help the City and do appreciate all of their efforts during that time.

Ms. Blakes welcomed everyone to tonight’s meeting and appreciated everyone for coming out in the rainy weather.  She thanked the Public Works employees for assisting with the sandbagging for anyone who needed them during the flooding; she said this was the least thing the City could do to assist the citizens right now, but that the City is trying to do something to relieve some of the pressure.

Mr. Wilson announced the Great American Cleanup to be held this Saturday and said hopefully individuals will come out and participate.  He said he will be working in District 4 with a team of both young and matured citizens to clean up the community.  Mr. Wilson also announced on April 19, 2014, 10am-2pm at Lida Benton Park there will be a Rocking the Block Program where topics such as Drugs, Alcohol, Profanity as well as High Blood Pressure will be discussed, food and music will be provided and the event is free to the public. He thanked Minister Hall and Ms. Johnnie Thomas for their assistance in putting this event together.  He thanked Mr. Mark Simmons, David Johnson and others who came out on Sunday night during the storm to put sandbags out in the community in District 3-5. He met with Ms. Golden and Mr. Janway about the flooding in the Georgia Street area to get the pump station and is working to get the water off of the homeowners and also at Breece Circle.  He mentioned a citizen called with a complaint of illegal dumping about  mattresses and sofas in the 1100 block of South 10th Street and in talking with the landlord of the property about the illegal dumping, the landlord removed sofas, etc. from the road.  Mr. Wilson asked the administration to insert into the water bills information about illegal dumping.   

Mayor Mayo announced information about the Great American Cleanup to be held on Saturday, April 12 at 8:00 a.m. in conjunction with the City of West Monroe and the Parish.  He said we need as many people as we can to come out and clean up the community.  He said Public Works was out on Sunday to assist with the flooding and it was very difficult and appreciates his colleagues as well as all of the departments being represented on Sunday to assist in the flooding.  He said several areas including Georgia, Alabama, Erin and others areas were flooded and the Administration is trying to come up with innovative ways in addition to the funding applied for,  as well as the funding that the city have each fiscal year for drainage and ditching, etc. .  He said he will continue to reach out to the community for support because he said it is a shared responsibility to work on this magnificent issue and which is to improve drainage and when there is debris in ditches in front of your homes, its problematic, that he is  not fussing at anyone but reaching out to make a plea to assist in this area.

Mr. Clark thanked each for attending tonight and he recognized and thanked many Public Works employees in attendance which included Brooks, Matthew Sims, and Saulsberry and acknowledged their very busy week. He thanked Kim Golden and an Entergy Representative as they are scheduled to meet on tomorrow concerning new lighting on 165 South where Coca Cola runs all the way toward Winnsboro Road.  He said this meeting is an effort to light up 165 South as it is lighted like the area as you come over the bridge headed towards North 18th and also like the area of I-20 coming from Shreveport towards Ruston and everyone’s effort is greatly appreciated.  He said as the ideas and information is received that he will share it with the public.  Mr. Clark announced information about the adjudicated properties list in the City and Parish and wants the public to be excited about this opportunity.  He said we have properties that are a penny on the dollar and asked that the public will call our Legal Department, the Parish Police Jury Office as well as West Monroe to get the list of properties available; and asked if the public would see if you can buy them and redevelop the properties and put them back into commerce, into use.  He said that South Monroe has a lot of blighted properties and hopefully getting individuals interested in purchasing the properties that it would do some good and don’t want to wait on government to do for us what we can do for ourselves, there are some things that we can do, especially in South Monroe and he said his efforts have been to get the people excited about taking control about our own community and not waiting on city government to give us handouts, because it will never happen, it is on us to make it happen and make it work.

Upon a motion of Ms. Blakes and seconded by Mr. Wilson the minutes of the Legal and Regular Session of March 25, 2014 were unanimously approved as presented. (There were no comments from the public).

PRESENTATION:

A Presentation by Chief Holmes was next on the Agenda.  He called three young men to come to the front, Darrius Goldsmith, Tearrion Jones, and Ricky Wesley along with their parent joined him along with Mayor Mayo.  Chief Holmes recognized and acknowledged the three young men for turning in a gun they found to the Police Department.  He presented each one of them with a certificate of achievement and a coin of excellence. 

PUBLIC HEARINGS:    NONE.

PROPOSED CONDEMNATIONS:

1206 Georgia Avenue (D4) (Owner - Matt & Catholis Matthews) (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 May 8, 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 his office has spoken with the property owners and have made arrangements to demolish the property as they will be placed on a plan to have the demolition costs paid because of the homeowner not being able to pay it at one time in full.

Mr. Wilson asked Ms. Catholis Matthews who was present if she had plans to remodel the property and Ms. Matthews stated that she did try and said that she did not have the funds to do it and stated that she has no objection to the property being demolished.

ACCEPTANCE OR REJECTION OF BIDS:

(a) Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Mrs. Ezernack and unanimously approved to Accept the bid of Delta Process Equipment of Ruston, LA for a Trailer Mounted Pump for the Sewer Division as recommended by the Director of Administration as complying with the specifications of this bid. The Vendor complies with the specifications of this bid and has been cleared by the Tax & Revenue. Funds for this purchase will be derived from the Sewer Capital Account.

Comments:  Mr. Hackney asked the cost of the pump; Mr. Westrom stated the bypass pump is approximately $46,000 and is used to connect sewer services in case of line failures.  Mr. Hackney asked if this pump could be leased and Mr. Westrom stated it could not be leased because it was needed fulltime to do sewer by passes and coming out of the Capital Account.

RESOLUTIONS AND MINUTE ENTRIES:

Department of Administration: NONE.

Department of Planning & Urban Development: NONE.

Legal Department: NONE.

Mayor’s Office:

Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6206, authorizing the expenditure of Administrative Economic Development Funds for the Green Team Summer Job Program and further providing with respect thereto.

Comments:  Ms. Nell Bradley came forward to say that she was all for this Resolution, but wanted to know when the application process would begin, what was the pay and the qualifications and how many jobs for the $25,000.  Mr. Gregg Smith came forward and stated that application were placed at the City’s area schools and the last day to get an application is this Friday; applications can also be picked up at City Hall and there are 15 jobs created with the pay being at $7.25 per hour working Mon-Thurs from 7:00am-12:00 pm; the qualifications are the applicants be 16-24 years old, be in high school or college and that they must be able to work in extreme heat, it is no inside job.  Ms. Bradley asked how they choose the job applicants for the job.  Mr. Smith explained to Ms. Bradley that the first priority is given to past employees of the Green Team and they also speak with Principals, Counselors as it relates to grades.  Ms. Bradley said she understands selecting previous employees, but shouldn’t other applicants be given an opportunity as well; Mr. Smith stated that he has to get a job done and after four years of doing it, you will have employees that are willing to come to work and others who are not willing; it is a give and take.

Department of Public Works:

(a) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6207, authorizing Monroe Regional Airport to do a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for professional on-call planning consultant services, and further providing with respect thereto.

Comments:  Mr. Hackney asked if an adopted Resolution was the same as passing it; Mr. Clark said yes it was the same thing.  He asked if it was the same thing, why is there a second.  Mr. Clark explained to him that procedure is done for Ordinances.  Mr. Hackney said the words with respect thereto should be removed because no one knows what it means and if they don’t mean anything.  Mr. Clark said he would turn that question over to the Legal Department.  Ms. Summersgill stated that she would not take it out because generally the Resolutions do have more information and are welcome to get the entire agenda. Mr. Hackney asked the cost of the consultant services and Mr. Ron Phillips said there was no cost that the city is only requesting qualifications on particular applicants.  Mr. Hackney stated that if the Agendas had all of the necessary information then questions would not need to be asked.

Ms. Nell Bradley asked what was on call planning; Mr. Phillips explained to her that it would be a firm to assist with grant applications and maximizing funding from the state and feds.  He said once selected they would be paid for through the administrative funds from the grant.  Ms. Bradley asked if the city already had someone on city staff that knew how to do what this request was for.  Ms. Summersgill said there was a grant writer already on staff, but that this person would not be an employee of the city and they would be needed only on an on call basis to tell the city if there are grants available and if they find grants then they will be paid through those grants. 
 
(b) Upon a motion by Mrs. Ezernack, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6208, offered by the Monroe Regional Airport authorizing Mayor Mayo to accept a grant offer from the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LDOTD) in the amount of $2,229,000.00 for the Aircraft Rescue & Firefighting Station (ARFF Station), for the Monroe Regional Airport and further providing with respect thereto.

Comments:  Ms. Nell Bradley asked if this work was for Breck Construction.  Mr. Phillips stated Breck Construction Company was the lowest bidder on the project.  Ms. Bradley asked if it was a full grant; Mr. Phillips said it was and is funded by the State of Louisiana; She wanted to know why it is coming from Dept. of Transportation and not the FAA; Mr. Phillips said the La. Dept. of Transportation is providing the funds for the grant.  Ms. Bradley wanted to know why can’t take this two million and get two million from somewhere else to do his project  

Ms. Blakes asked if the funds have to be matched and Mr. Phillips said they do not have to be matched.

(c)  Upon a motion by Mrs. Ezernack, seconded by Dr. Armstrong and unanimously approved to add to the agenda, Resolution No. 6209,  approving the assignment of that certain lease agreement at the Monroe Regional Airport originally by and between the City of Monroe and Roofmasters, LLC to JPS Equipment and further providing with respect thereto.

Upon a motion by Mrs. Ezernack, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6209, approving the assignment of that certain lease agreement at the Monroe Regional Airport originally by and between the City of Monroe and Roofmasters, LLC to JPS Equipment and further providing with respect thereto.

Comments:  Ms. Nell Bradley asked if there was another agenda related item regarding a roof airport; Mr. Phillips stated that it probably is a substantial completion on the field sector office roof; she wanted to know the difference; Mr. Phillips said the difference is this is the signing of the lease through JPS Aviation and Roofmasters had the lease previously.

Council: NONE.

Department of Community Affairs:

(a) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mrs. Ezernack and unanimously approved to Consider a request from the Louisiana Purchase Garden & Zoo, of the Community Affairs Department for authorization from the City Council to advertise for the remodeling of the Zoo Diet Kitchen. Funds will be derived from the Mayor’s Economic Development Fund. The estimated cost of the project is $50,000.00.

Comments:  Mr. Hackney wanted to know why the Zoo was asking for this amount when in January they only asked for $26,000.  Mr. Clawson said the $26,000 was for a freezer for the Zoo and that this $50,000 has never been brought before Council.  Ms. Bradley asked if the $26,000 had already be requested and to her Mr. Clawson explained that amount was for the freezer and the $50,000 is for the remodeling of the diet kitchen; he said there are local contractors to do the work and is going out for bids and should be below $50,000; it is a USDA request and must meet restaurant standards in the diet kitchen

Police Department:  NONE.

Fire Department:   NONE.

Engineering Services:

(a) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mrs. Ezernack and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6210, authorizing James E. Mayo, Mayor, to execute change order no. two (2) to Tower-Armand Connector Project, between the City of Monroe and Amethyst Construction, Inc. for an increase of $82, 187, of said project and further providing with respect thereto.

Comments:  Ms. Nell Bradley said she was confused and asked if Council signed off in the last Council meeting a substantial completion for this project; she also wanted to know who was on the Tower-Armand Board, how much money they have, and a report is ever given from the Board, and how much is this project; will a blank check be given. Ms. Golden said a substantial completion was done and is a step to close out the project; the project unit price and is based on estimated quantities and they are paid on actual quantities; this is the final change order that reconciles to actuals; she said Mr. Holland had actual figures and he stated the project had one hundred and forty items and the amount $82, 187.  Ms. Golden said it is her understanding that the City Council stands as the Board for Tower-Armand and will defer it further to Council.  Ms. Summersgill stated that Ms. Golden was correct, there was no Board, and there are different ways of organizing it and implementing it under state law.  Ms. Summersgill stated in this case, the District was small and did not appoint another board, the Council manages the Board.  Ms. Golden added, that I-20 includes both the City and Parish properties is why it was probably decided to have a separate Board for I-20 and was her recollection for Tower-Armand, that the Council manages it.

Mr. Clark said that he would put in a request to get an accounting for the next Council meeting.   Ms. Bradley said she is just trying to figure out how the City does business. 

Ms. Blakes asked the question that if it is not approved, is the City legally bound.  Ms. Summersgill said there is a contract and the money is owed and that Mr. Holland keeps up with it all as well as the Engineering Department.

(b) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mrs. Ezernack and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6211, authorizing James E. Mayo, Mayor, to enter into and execute a proposal with Ardaman & Associates Inc., to provide construction materials testing services during the construction phase of MLU North and Mid Ramp Rehab Phase II, and further providing with respect thereto.

Comments:  Ms. Nell Bradley asked what the construction material test consists of and what is and where are the MLU North and Mid Ramp.  Ms. Golden explained that the testing svcs test the construction materials to make sure they comply with specifications; the testing firm must be approved to work inside the airport and are limited to the number of people who responded; the firm selected was local and a unit price was given and will be paid according to how much they are used for the testing of materials.  Mr. Holland stated the expenses are normally covered from DOTD and are required and followed by FAA and only pay for testing needed and nothing is matched and doesn’t cost the city anything. 

(c) Upon a motion by Mrs. Ezernack, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6212, authorizing James E. Mayo, Mayor, to enter into and execute a proposal with Ardaman & Associates Inc., to provide construction materials testing services during the construction phase of MLU Taxiway G Rehabilitation, and further providing with respect thereto. (There were no comments from the public).

(d)  Upon a motion by Mrs. Ezernack, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6213,  authorizing James E. Mayo, Mayor, to enter into and execute a contract with Neel-Shaffer, for engineering services, for traffic studies (US 165 at Renwick St. and US 165 at Louberta St.), and further providing with respect thereto.

Comments:  Ms. Nell Bradley asked if this study would include signal lights and if so can the traffic light that Ms. Thomas wanted on Texas and South 8th Street, be added to the project.  Ms. Golden responded that this study does not include traffic signals; this is a study of the existing traffic signals and the way traffic is moving at two intersections on 165, Louberta and Renwick and was requested by DOTD and it is because of the maintenance agreement with them it has to be done. She further explained that this study will consist of counting the traffic and physically watch and count the turns, review crash data and will have an analysis and recommendation of adjustments to help the level of service at the indicated intersections.  The cost is $11,500 and is coming from the Engineering Dept.  This is a specialized traffic study and Neel-Shaffer is the gold standard as far as DOTD is concerned.  The City does not have to the staff to do this specialized work. 

Dr. Armstrong said he was familiar with Neel-Shaffer  but wanted to know if the engineering services statement of work is correct because he understands that their company provides traffic services.  Ms. Golden responded that the type of engineering service is the analysis of the traffic data and the analysis and recommendation is considered to be an engineering service; they will not be drawing up plans as the company does provide that service, but this project is not what it is for.

Mr. Clark complimented the Administration and the Engineering Department; he told those in attendance who are familiar with the Booker-T Community that there are so many wrecks at 165/Renwick at  Carroll High and the 165/Louberta Street intersection.  He said something need to be done at these intersections and appreciates the efforts with the study and hopefully be able to get left turn arrows to benefit everyone in that community. 

(e) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mrs. Ezernack and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6214, authorizing James E. Mayo, Mayor, to execute change order no. one (1) to the DRU Gustav/Ike Stormwater Improvements Project, between the City of Monroe and Womack & Sons Construction Group, Inc., for a decrease of $342,900.00 of said project.

Comments:  Ms. Nell Bradley raised the question of what the original cost of the project, the source of funds for the project, what fund does the money go back to.  Ms. Golden said there was no City money involved in this project and is one hundred percent grant money from FEMA/Governor’s office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.  The amount of grant is over 1.5  million and was bided twice and the second time it was still over the budget and the change order is taking the lowest bid of the second time around and decreasing it to where it is now within the budget that is available.  Ms. Golden explained that the $342,900 is not money, but is a bid that was too much and am decreasing the contract amount to pay the contractor the amount of money that the City has through the grant.  She explained the bid coming in at over 1.7 million dollars and the revised amount is 1.454 million dollars and is allowing for some contingency, because they are working at eighteen different pump stations are probably going to find things  that didn’t know about and are giving ourselves a cushion so won’t have to come to Council for City money; this grant can’t be used for anything but the pump station and if not used will go back to the Governor’s office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

Mr. Clark questioned if the grant money that is being given back be used for the pump station on Georgia Street.  Ms. Golden said there is no money going back. Mr. Clark asked if the contract could have been kept the same in order to do work at Georgia Street pump station.  Ms. Golden said there was no money for that station; this is why it was being decreased.  Ms. Blakes commented that there is a misunderstanding about the decreasing; she said there is an understanding that the  money is being decreased and actually what is being decreased is paper. Mr. Holland said it is a contract, for instance if it was a project for and you had $15,000 for the project but the project’s actual cost was $16,500, then there would be an adjustment to get it back where you could afford to do the project.  Mr. Clark wanted to know which pump stations where the grant money being used for.  Mr. Holland said there were a total of 18 storm water pump stations and are working on 10 of those stations, doing work such as replacing pumps, controls, structures, whatever it takes; the money is designated for certain pump stations, existing pump stations.  Mr. Clark asked where the existing pump stations that would be worked on located.  Mr. Westrom stated, the stations are located Pegrum Circle-new diesel engine, replacing a failing natural gas engine; 10th and Willow is getting a new electric motor to drive natural failed gas pump; installing the scathen that would allow City officials to monitor the operation of the pump station from remote locations and anyone at city hall can look at this; there will be two pumps to be replaced on the Southside of Monroe; the farthest pump station in the city; a generator will be installed at Oregon Trail; switch gear at two other stations; repairing a fail generator on Pine Street

(f) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to Adopt  Resolution No. 6215, accepting as substantially complete work done by and between the City of Monroe and Industrial Roofing & Construction LLC., for the reroofing of the field sector office at MLU Project, 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 Mr. Clark and unanimously approved to Introduce an Ordinance authorizing the City of Monroe to take corporeal possession of the property described below and sell to New Hope Pentecostal Temple, for two thousand four hundred thirty-six and 40/100 dollars, all rights, title and interest that the City may have acquired in and to lot one (1) of square five (5) of J. W. Johnston’s Addition, District 5, Monroe, La, by adjudication at tax sale dated June 30, 1998, and further with respect thereto. (Legal) (There were no comments from the public).

(b) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to Introduce an Ordinance setting fees for certain recreational facilities and activities at City of Monroe Recreational Facilities and further providing with respect thereto. (Comm. Affairs).  (There were no comments from the public).

Comments:  Mr. Clark stated that the Ordinance dealing with BJ Washington and the Rivermarket, but mainly BJ Washington and he asked Mr. Ross to come forward and give an overview of what is being proposed.  Mr. Ross explained that BJ Washington is being managed by Ashley Smith and some of the schools asked about bringing student athletes to workout at the facility; there was not a fee schedule for schools set up so the fee schedule was adjusted for the schools.  The sign in sheet had to be adjusted per the Auditor to reflect paid and non-paid and if this wasn’t done would face audit problems.  Mr. Clark asked for the record that Mr. Ross would read what is being proposed.  The proposal was read by Mr. Ross as such: $10 month adults 18 and over; School team athletes, 14 player or less per session, $125 per month; School team athletes, 15-20 player per session, $150 per month (20 athletes maximum for all schools per session; School non-team athletes ages 17 & under, no fees charged; There will be different sign in sheets for paying participants and non-participating visitors (i.e. vendors, parents, family members, city employees, etc.)  Note:  Assistance will not be provided to those seeking USA Boxing Association (USABA) affiliation as this was discontinued in 2010.  Mr. Clark said this Ordinance is only up for introduction tonight and it has been discussed; Mr. Clark said his concern is that no kids would be charged to work out in the facility and this is his understanding that would take place; Mr. Clark asked who would pay the bill for the Student Athletes if the kids are not being charged; Mr. Ross stated the schools would pay the fees because the school came to Mr. Ashley Smith and these were the fees that they agreed upon; Mr. Clark said that he knew the answer to that particular question and stated that the public did not know this and it is his desire that if it goes forward that no kid be charged and if the school is paying the fees that they will be accountable for paying, but kids are free at BJ Washington who come to work out there; Mr. Clark said there has been talk about the much needed repairs at the center, leaking of the roof, molding around building, air conditioning not working during the summer; he stated the public need to know these things because about a year and a half ago were trying to deal with these issues and now we want to put a fee schedule in place, yet the repairs have not been made and hopefully when we come back in two weeks, we would have moved on some of the repair work, that we have been asking for and the people in that area deserves it.  Mr. Ross stated that Mr. Bruce Watson had already started getting quotes on the work and it won’t be done in two weeks, but on our way.  Mr. Clark asked Mr. Ross to tell what the status is on the work; Mr. .Clark said he was told that there has been a man walking around looking at the rotten wood but that the rotten wood is still there and it is appreciated and will appreciate some movement, before putting a fee schedule in place to charge the schools; let’s give them a good facility.

(c) ) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Dr. Armstrong and unanimously approved to Introduce an Ordinance amending and adjusting the City of Monroe Operating Budget for the fiscal year 2013-2014. (4th Quarter) (Admin.)

Comments:  Mr. Hackney asked if the fourth quarter was over and Mr. Barnes said it is over on  April 30, 2014. 

RESOLUTIONS AND ORDINANCES FOR SECOND READING AND FINAL ADOPTION:

(a) Ordinance No. 11,462 was offered for final adoption by Mrs. Ezernack and on her motion seconded by Ms. Blakes was unanimously approved and adopted amending the Zoning Map for the City of Monroe,
Louisiana to zone a .44 acre, more or less, tract of land from R-1, Single Family Residential District and a 2.87 acre, more or less, tract of land to B-3, General Business/Commercial and totals ±3.31 acres, presently located in Ouachita Parish and otherwise known as: 1514, 1600, 1602, 1604, 1605, 1607, 1609, 1615, 1707, 1709, and 1711 Cole Avenue; 3711, 3713, and 3802 Webster Street – APPLICANT – RCH Company, Inc. – (P&Z)

The Chairman opened the Public Hearing and seeing no one come forward the Hearing was declared closed.

(b) Ordinance No. 11,463 was offered for final adoption by Dr. Armstrong and on his motion seconded by Mrs. Ezernack was unanimously approved and adopted 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)

The Chairman opened the Public Hearing and seeing no one come forward the Hearing was declared closed

(c) Ordinance No. 11,464 was offered for final adoption by Ms. Blakes and on her motion seconded by Mr. Wilson was approved with Ms. Blakes, Mr. Wilson, Dr. Armstrong, Mrs. Ezernack voting yes and  Mr. Clark abstaining to adopt the 2014-2015 budget submitted by the mayor of the City of Monroe and further providing with respect thereto. (Dr. Armstrong)

The Chairman opened the Public Hearing and seeing no one come forward the Hearing was declared closed

(d)  Ordinance No. 11,465 was offered for final adoption by Mrs. Ezernack and on her motion seconded by Dr. Armstrong was unanimously approved 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.)

The Chairman opened the Public Hearing and seeing no one come forward the Hearing was declared closed

(e) Ordinance No. 11,466 was offered for final adoption by Mrs. Ezernack and on her motion seconded by Dr. Armstrong was unanimously approved to adopt a Budget of Revenues and providing for an estimate of items and expenditures for the fiscal year 2014-2015. (Admin.)

The Chairman opened the Public Hearing and seeing no one come forward the Hearing was declared closed.

(f) Emergency Ordinance No. 11,467 was offered as an addition to the agenda on a motion by Mrs. Ezernack, seconded by Dr. Armstrong and unanimously approved.

The Chairman opened the Public Hearing:

Comments:  Ms. Nell Bradley asked if work had been done on this Rochelle Pump less than six months ago; is there a warranty for the pumps; can the pump be repaired without buying another one; what is the cost and what account will the funds be derived from.  Mr. Westrom said there was another failure at this pump station where debris fallen into the ditches and got lodged in one of the pumps and caused significant damage to the pump; he said it was one of the issues that has been brought up to the City and citizens and that is to keep the ditches clean so that things of this nature doesn’t happen; there is no warranty for the pumps when debris damages the pump; Mr. Westrom stated this pump is being repaired; the cost will be under $40,000; the funds will be derived from the Stormwater account.

Emergency Ordinance No. 11,467 was offered for final adoption by Ms. Blakes and on her motion seconded by Dr. Armstrong was unanimously approved declaring the condition of the Rochelle Storm Water Pump Station and emergency in immediate need of repair and further providing with respect thereto. 

The Chairman opened the Public Hearing:

Comments:  Dr. Armstrong said it was important to let the public know that during the last rain storm, all of the pumps were on and even though there was damage to some of the pumps, the back- up pumps were operable.  He asked Mr. Westrom to explain this matter; Mr. Westrom gave the Rochelle Pump station as an example, he stated although there are three pumps there, only two are required for operations and the third is a back-up pump.  Mr. Westrom said when the Rochelle pump was lost the pumping ability was not diminished; he stated all of the pumps come on automatically; he said he took Dr. Armstrong to a number of pump stations to show him how they work and explained the procedure for the pumps, being that the pumps are controlled by the amount of water that is a well underneath the station, called a wet well; as the water rises, the pumps will turn themselves on.  Mr. Westrom thanked all of his employees who worked at the station during the rain event giving a lot of their time and effort coming out all day and working until the late hours of the evening and gave a lot of themselves.

Mr. Clark commented that all of Council voted for the repairs at the Rochelle Pump station and are now likely going to support the Emergency Ordinance and said this observation he will make is not in his District but does affect his District and asked that everything would be done to assist Councilman Wilson and those people who live on Georgia Street to rectify the pump station problem at that location.  Mr. Clark said tonight Council voted for the Rochelle pump and is voting to put more repair work there and Mr. Wilson has been told to wait until there is more money, while people are continuing to flood; believes that Mr. Wilson and the residents will appreciate if some type of relief could be rendered.  Mr. Westrom commented there was a meeting during the afternoon at the Engineering department to discuss the issue and Ms. Golden discussed things to help with the Georgia Pump station and the whole South Monroe and believes that she has some great ideas coming forward and will support it as well as himself supporting it and will do whatever it takes to try and move it forward.

Mr. Wilson said himself, Ms. Golden, Mr. Holland and Randy Denmon went out during the morning to survey the area and have something that they are putting together to assist the citizens on Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louis Locke and Breece Circle to champion the cause to help the citizens.

CITIZENS PARTICIPATION:

1.  Mr. Hackney asked if Council would consider making their numbers more accessible to the public; he stated there is one Council member who has their number published in the telephone directory.  He also stated that abbreviations were being used too much in the agenda.

2.  Mr. Chad Matherny said forward to talk about the drainage problems and the pumps.  He stated there were drainage issues in his neighborhood on Spencer Avenue and the pumps alone were not going to solve.  His neighborhood in the Spencer, Lexington Avenue area is threatened with the flood of water two to three times per year; he continued by saying he flooded last year, but was fortunate not to flood this year, although his shop and yard did flood along with some of his neighbor’s and this is very recurring in his neighborhood; he said his neighborhood is clean and does not have problem with the ditches filling up with debris, but there are deep issues with the drainage system.

3.  Mr. Robert Johnson, AFSCM Local 2388, President came forward to introduce, Mr. James Ray, new President of AFSCM Council #17. 

4.  Mr. James Ray Sr., newly elected President of AFSCM stated that he is currently in the process of negotiating the new City Union contract and assured the legal council and mayor and others who are a part of the negotiating committee that he is not present to bash but that he is looking forward to coming up with something equitable and feasible that will show the employees that their work is appreciated.  He commended them for the work that they are doing and understands what it takes for the city workers to do the things that they do and are on board to come up with agreements and language that the City, Union and employees are able to work with.  He stated to his understanding there has been problems on both sides and am here to admit that there is none perfect and there has been some errors, but is hopeful that met with the same thing as the City is concerned; there has been numerous amounts of violations as far as contract agreements are concerned, wages are low.  He stated if he was a proprietor he would rather have a person making far more than $7.00 to come and fill their gas up if they were making more money, and if they were making $10.00 per hour could put more gas in care if making $7.00 per hour, just common economics and ask that the individuals be treated as men and women, with respect.  He said it is not all about money, but about respect of the people who do the work that ordinary people choose not to do; he said it is also about health conditions and if he picked up trash, he does not want to take the trash residue that is left on his clothing, home with him and better shower conditions are needed and a lot of issues need to be discussed, but his coming tonight is about creating a dialogue that can erase humiliating and degrading talk and actions where people can have mutual respect. He said he is a minister and has been for nineteen years and with Council opening up with the pledge and prayer and closed by stating there was some places that he read that a person should be paid who is worthy of his hire and another place you should not muzzle the ox that grinds the grain, that person should be paid double his portion and also read if man can glean your fields and pick your wheat, then at the end of the day should be paid for that properly and this is what the workers of the City of Monroe are asking and they don’t want to be dumped on like the dump they are picking up, we dump the trash but don’t want to be treated like trash.

5.  Mr. Michael Duvall came forward and said he knows everybody gets nervous when he gets up; he further stated during the flooding event and said he spoke several times with members of the city staff about flooding in North Monroe was very encouraged and pleased for the rapid response time of city workers cleaning out ditches, culverts and making sure the storm water flowed; he said Mr. Westrom will remember when he was at KNOE and did a series of stories on the pumps and anybody that has never seen what the pumps look like after a storm should take a look at them.  He said eighty five percent of the flooding is the citizens fault because they do not keep the ditches clean, nor trash out of the gutters, and if don’t know what a piece of firewood can do to a pump, then go ask the guy who was working Gustav when it was lifted off of the ground two feet.  He said the workers should be commended because they did massive amounts of work and thanked them for their work.

There being no further business to come before the council, the meeting was adjourned at 7:48 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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