Monroe City Council Minutes
Dr. Raymond A. Armstrong
District #2 Mrs. Gretchen H. Ezernack
Ms. Betty Blakes
District #4 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
April 22, 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 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 Mrs. Ezernack’s designee, Tom Janway, Director of Public Works.
Chairman Clark proceeded by acknowledging the time for special announcements and/or communications.
Dr. Armstrong welcomed everyone and was pleased to see each one present.
Mrs. Ezernack welcomed each one present.
Ms. Blakes welcomed each one present.
Mr. Wilson welcomed each one present and thanked those who participated in the Great American Cleanup including the Senior Citizens and the City Employees, as well as young people. He thanked the Mayor for dropping the lawsuit so that the City can move forward, and for considering giving employees raises. He thanked those people who were involved with Rocking the Block for Christ at Lida Benton Park; some in attendance signed up for adopting a block. He mentioned to Mr. Janway that at 306 Morrison Avenue the roadside trash had not been picked up in three weeks; he also noted Head Street for trash problems; he said the schedule for picking up the trash seems to not be working and that the grass has grown and believes Public Works is short of men; he believes the mowing of the lots and ditches should be done at the same time and have been getting calls from constituents to get this matter corrected.
Mayor Mayo announced several condolences; The deaths of Ms. Sunny Merriweather who was involved in Public Broadcasting at ULM for a number of years as well as being involved in the community and Ms. Martha Ryan who passed away today was founder of the Children’s Museum downtown Monroe and he appreciated her commitment to children and for being in our community. He mentioned the movie being filmed in our city and that Ms. Anna Zelienski, a native of Monroe is Director of the Movie, Dancer and Dames; the Mayor was asked to be a part of the movie as well as the Police Department. He stated that we are proud of this going on in the City and Parish and look forward opportunities such as this one to come to Monroe.
Mr. Clark asked that the citizens become a part of buying the Adjudicated properties; individual called and thanked him for giving out this information as he stated has been in existence for a long time. He said some of the properties located downtown were adjudicated properties but have been purchased; there are other adjudicated properties and a list is located at City Hall as well as the City website at www.monroela.us or call our Legal Department and ask for a list; he said the Parish Police Jury also has a list as well; you can buy this property and use as collateral at banks and it will help enhance and cleanup the neighborhood; applied knowledge is power, you must use the knowledge. He thanked several people for dealing with the Ford Street issue, Ms. Summersgill, Ms. James (City Council Staff), Mr. Westrom, Mr. Janway and Public Works, Mr. Westrom, Kinya Dawson (Mayor’s Office), Tina Anzalone, all of these individuals were instrumental in taking care of the problem in this area were some Senior Citizens were having issues. He said crime is increasing and on the rise statistically and this may be argued that it is not but within the last few weeks he has been getting calls about this. He said would get with the Chief and maybe has him to come before the next Council Meeting to give an overview; want the citizens to know that we are concerned about their safety; we can visibly see that within the last few weeks and as the weather has begun to warm up that crime has increased. He yielded the remainder of his time to Mr. Bruce Washington to give an update on BJ Washington and Emily P Robinson. Mr. Watson reported that Emily P Robinson has been completed with a new floor, new ceiling, telescopic bleachers, and freshly painted walls as well as a new fence going up soon with new playground equipment to follow; BJ Washington has acquired a new television, treadmill, the old weight equipment has been removed, and new paint, floor tiles and the rotten wood will be replaced soon, and a report on the heating and air system will be done tomorrow.
Mr. Clark stated that it is the Council’s goal to facilitate and put information out to the public and that they can expect a brochure soon as well as a television show/segment will be done in the future keeping the public informed. It will be an update such as what Mr. Bruce Watson came before Council to give an updated report on the two community centers; he said the City is working for the public and do care about them.
Upon a motion of Ms. Blakes and seconded by Dr. Armstrong, the minutes of the Legal and Regular Session of April 8, 2014 were unanimously approved as presented. (There were no comments from the public).
Mr. Clark asked if Mr. Hackney was present and he wasn’t present tonight. Mr. Hackney asked for information to be presented and Mr. Clark stated that he would be able to see it on Channel 75. There would be presentations made on Economic Development Districts.
PRESENTATION: Comprehensive Reports & Up to Date Financials
I-20 Economic Development Dist. – Mr. Otis Chisley of 1615 Jackson Street came forward to give an update stating the purpose being established to assist districts that were suffering from extreme condition of unemployment and formed to assist the distressed area and the initial date of organization being orchestrated in 1996 by a Legislative Act. He said the Corporation has revenue bonds and issuance and receives money from the taxing district which is along the I-20 and since 1996; fifty six businesses have opened in this District and the total sales since the inception is ($2, 481, 142, 789 generating ($34, 449, 212) in sales tax rebates to the District. In 2012, there were five businesses that opened in this district. In process of having engineering work done to build a road north of I-20 beginning at Garrett Road to Hwy 594 and in order to get it done timely it will be bided out in segments; the Nutland Road Project will widen Nutland and Prairie Roads that will allow that area more access and it will alleviate traffic and ready for bid after some more property have been acquired. Also, he mentioned a lot of calls in regard to flooding near Milhaven and I-20 and have extended an opportunity to do a comprehensive drainage plan and in order to move forward and it be enhanced the flooding has to be taken care of. Mr. Chisley said there are projects on the table and their estimated costs of completing the water line on I-20 Frontage Road near Race track and Milhaven, the south side Frontage Road from Nutland Road to Lowes is over three million dollars to complete the engineer and design, and to complete the construction from the Frontage Road along I-20 from Sparks Nissan to Milhaven Road has cost in Phase One over one million dollars and it includes engineering services, and it hasn’t been completed yet because waiting on the State to do their part, the plans have been sent to the state and the state changed the plans and they are going to pay for the particular section of road; Arcadis did a survey and felt that the road from Milhaven (Guide Plant) to Garret should be a four lane, because of heavy traffic during events and the engineering for the service road north of I-20, east of Garrett Road toward Hwy 594 is estimated to cost in excess of six million dollars and is looking forward to this because businesses are looking forward to moving out in this area.
Ms. Blakes asked if Council could receive a copy of the report that Mr. Chisley reported. He said he would see about getting them a copy of the report.
Tower-Armand Economic Development District – Mr. Holland reported that this request to deliver an overview was given to his office on yesterday, but stated that the District covers area from North 18th Street to Hwy 165 North and it consist of twenty to twenty five years of construction and engineering work. He asked if they could be given and additional thirty days to give more accurate numbers; he said the last project completed was around twelve million dollars and the last section before that was done by John Maroney Engineers and would need to get more information to have more accurate figures for the completed project.
Dr. Armstrong asked what the boundaries for north were and south; Ms. Golden said that information would be provided; Dr. Armstrong said he would appreciate a copy and he also asked if there was a board for this District as for I-20 District, and bylaws, rules, regulations; Ms. Golden stated that the City Council is the Board for Tower Armand. Ms. Summersgill stated under the State law that there are two ways the District can be managed, one being the Council as it is, and the other way is by a Board as was created for I-20 District; because it was a small district and there wasn’t a lot of new development, this is why the City Council is the board. Dr. Armstrong commented that the Open meeting laws prohibit the City Council from talking with each other, therefore it would be an ineffective board and felt it would be appropriate since there are eleven years left on the legislation, should look at creating a board for Tower Armand District and will talk with Legal about it later.
Mr. Clark asked Ms. Golden that a report be given on Tower Armand about the amount of money collected to date, as well as how much has been spent, where it has been spent, and the balance left. Ms. Golden deferred these questions to Mr. Barnes; David Barnes said there were copies available tonight for each Council Member with this requested information. Mr. Barnes gave an overview from the written report that was passed out to all Council members. Mr. Clark commented that the Tower Armand District is a TIFF similar to the I-20 District in which it receives money from sales tax and can only be used for debt services. Mr. Clark said this District was unlike the Southside Economic District who would be giving their report next does not have a revenue generating source. Mr. Barnes said Tower Armand was exactly like the I-20 District wherein it is strictly used for debt service and at the end of twenty five years what money is left goes back to the state.
Southside Economic Development District: Mr. Greg Smith reiterated that this District was not a TIFF such as the Tower Armand Economic District or I-20 District; it was created in 2002 and was intended to be a hotel occupancy tax and has proven not to be feasible or having been voted upon; the District has $40.60 in a Capital One account; in the past year the District has been in reorganization mode and 2007 was the last major activity and discussions with the past chairman of this district indicated that there was $30,000 in state funding being allocated for startup businesses; the businesses received a total of $1500 with $750 being distributed to them up front and the remainder $750 upon satisfactory completion of proposed project. He stated since this time there have been lack of quorum, lack of funding and have slowed down any progress which was intended to take place. Mr. Smith acknowledged the officers of this District being, Mr. Wardell Coward (appointed by Mayor), Vice Chairman; Augusta Turner, Secretary (appointed by African American Chamber); Esther Gallow, Ray Jones Jr., Sam Shaw, each appointed by Council and Ms. Stephanie Rivers confirmation to the District is pending tonight and her appointment is by the Monroe Chamber, and there is an open seat with an appointment from African American Chamber for a total of seven members. The next process is to revise the bylaws; a long term funding source is being sought; he stated there was a long term comprehensive plan in place and that some of those things have been acted upon by both the Administration, Council, and the SEDD and recently a second consultant have come has proposed using a Main Street approach.
Mr. Clark stated this District has $40.60 in the bank; he said that you can have the greatest intention of doing things in South Monroe, but without money you can’t do anything. He said I-20 and the Tower Armand Districts have funding sources and recurring funding sources, whereas, the Southside had nothing. There is a disparity; he asked that individuals would call Senator Francis Thompson and other representatives to see what can be done to level the playing field to do things in South Monroe and to get some type of long term funding mechanism. He said he appreciated Mr. Smith’s efforts as well as the members efforts, but that there will probably not get a quorum, because no one is going to show up to spend $40.60. We need to figure out what can be done to help out this Board.
Ms. Blakes asked Mr. Smith in reference to his comments about the assistance that was given to business; she wanted to know if they were all located in South Monroe. Mr. Smith said that they were all located in South Monroe; in the Winnsboro, Jackson and South 2nd Street areas. He stated this took place in 2007 and he wasn’t involved at that time and has no knowledge of the businesses. Ms. Blakes asked if any businesses have been assisted since that time and Mr. Smith stated there have been seminars and is trying to provide knowledge such as Entrepreneurial classes, etc. to the businesses; funding source has to be in place to provide infrastructure, and housing.
Mr. Wilson stated that he was in favor of moving the SEDD forward and thanked those who were involved. He mentioned the $200,000 that the Mayor approved for this District and stated that having a TIFF for the District would provide a much needed funding source.
Mr. Clark reiterated the need for citizens to contact Senator Francis Thompson about his commitment to the SEDD and asked if there was anyone else present who wanted to come forward to speak about the District.
Ms. Nell Bradley came forward in regard to the SEDD and said that everyone should be treated equal and money should be allocated equally.
Mayor Mayo commented that he did not agree with all of the comments made about the SEDD. He said when a story is told that the complete story should be told and not just part. He said this District along with the Downtown Economic Development District was created without a TIFF District when Senator Charles Jones created them. He said when this District was created it was not able to get the buy in with the hotel tax and thusly, was not created with a revenue stream. He mentioned the Public Safety Center, a three four million dollar facility and a state of the art facility was placed in South Monroe and it could have gone anywhere. The Mayor mentioned some of the other businesses, such as Now Save that is next to the Public Safety, Mid-South Extrusion is doing a huge expansion and will be getting more employees. He talked about the paving of the State Highways, i.e., Winnsboro Road and South 2nd Street and said that Jackson Street was in need of being paved as well. He said when he was a Councilmember; he took $20,000 and put in enhancements with children playground equipment at the Charles Johnson Park and across the street the development of the South Pointe has increased with a total of ninety plus housing units with the addition of duplexes. He mentioned the City Hall Jackson Street Annex being located in South Monroe where employees there go to restaurants such as Big Momma’s Restaurant and other fast food places. He said it is not perfect, but that there is a lot of positive things taking place in South Monroe and more efforts are being made in addition to the enhancements to the community centers. He said there need to be more done in South Monroe, Midtown and everywhere else and that progress is being made and we should be thankful for what we do have, rather than complaining about what we do not have.
Mr. Clark said that he did not think that anyone was complaining. He thanked the Mayor for shedding light and accentuating the positives that are taking place in South Monroe, such as the Safety Center that was put up about ten or twelve years ago. He stated that people should not be satisfied; it’s always good to strive for higher heights and to expect more.
Mr. Smith gave the demographics of the SEDD being described as: the starting point being south of Louisville Avenue from the river to Lawry Street at Waterfront Grill; anything Downtown is a part of the I-20 Economic Development District
Downtown Economic Development District:
A request made by Ms. Myra Gatling that this report is passed over until the next Council Meeting.
1. A Public Hearing to hear and consider all comments, views, protests, and objections concerning the City of Monroe’s Program Year 2014 Consolidated Annual Action Plan and FFY 2014-2016 Emergency Shelter Grant Program.
Mrs. Alicia Murphy gave a report on the accomplishments and what the City is hopeful of accomplishing in the five year plan. Over the last year, five hundred homeless persons were served; 2080 meals on wheels to eighty unduplicated seniors; 50 students received summer youth employment jobs; 91 received after school tutorial services; 41 Single Family Homes were rehabilitated; A Public Hearing was held on December 5, 2013 at Henrietta Johnson Recreation Center and there were a total of twenty residents who attended. She stated tonight’s public hearing is being held to gain input from citizens that are largely affected by this plan. A notice of availability was published in the Free Press during March 27-May 9, 2014 and is for Public comments to be submitted to the Community Development Office for submission of the plan. She stated there will be a five percent decrease of CDBG funds which equates to $32,801 from last year and that it is computed by a formula used by a pro rata reduction based on entitlement population, poverty , overcrowded conditions and pre 1940 housing.
Ms. Blakes asked how where the homeless provided services for affordable housing; Ms. Murphy said he services are rendered through the provider agency which would be Wellspring, Our House and it was Salvation Army, but they backed out due to a lack of staff. It is for male, female, families. Ms. Murphy stated that it is mostly for Domestic Violence Assistance but this year was able to obtain assistance for Homeless Housing program.
Ms. Blakes asked that Ms. Murphy explain how the private funds for daycare services program for the homeless work. Ms. Murphy stated that the Homeless Program is for competitive dollars and do not automatically receive the funds; an application must be submitted to the State of Louisiana in order for funds to be approved. She said each organization must have a match and the matching funds usually come from United Way and private donations and are given primarily to that particular agency and not to the City. Ms. Blakes asked if someone needed childcare and if they went to Wellspring could they be assisted with that childcare; Ms. Murphy said yes, if they qualify. Ms. Blakes asked her to explain what the youth shelter Our House; she said services were for runaway youth.
Mr. Wilson stated to Ms. Murphy that he has received a lot of calls from individuals regarding the rehabilitation of houses and that they were very disappointed. He spoke about Ms. Summersgill and others going to properties on South 1st Street and the $25,000 rehabilitation grant awarded to a homeowner and the work that was laid out was not done; he said he took pictures as well Ms. Marlene James emailed Ms. Murphy pictures; Ms. Murphy said she did not receive any pictures and this has not been brought to her attention and is not sure what Mr. Wilson is speaking of. Mr. Wilson said Ms. Blakes has constituents in her area as well who are not pleased with the rehabilitation work; he stated the homeowner is being told what work would be done and then are saying there is not enough money, but gave the homeowner the things that would be done. Ms. Murphy said Mr. Wilson was correct and that the Citizens can’t rely upon the City of Monroe to do everything; she said we are there to provide assistance to rehab the homes back to safe standards and a lot of the homes being worked on are past gone, there has been no upkeep or maintenance and can’t go in and make a brand new house with $25,000 or whatever the bid amount was for that particular property. She stated the maximum amount for the Home Program is $25,000 and is the highest and if there are additional funds available then the homeowner can apply for hardship assistance and it is received. She said as far as the rehabilitation work being complained about, there are inspectors that go out; she said the complaints that citizens call about are things that are not a part of the work plan that haven’t been touched. Mr. Wilson said there is a property on South 1st that sticks out in his mind and as Ms. Murphy moves forward that he would like for her to look at the contract because the homeowner wrote down things that were supposed to be done within the $25,000 and they weren’t done. Ms. Murphy asked him if he had the address and he said no, but that the homeowner did speak with Mr. Fisher and Ms. Summersgill as well as Ms. Golden and he stated he would get with Ms. Murphy after the council meeting. Ms. Murphy stated that Mr. Fisher had not made her aware of any of the information. Mr. Wilson stated the address as being 513 or 515 South 1st Street, Ms. Sims.
Mr. Fisher addressed the issue by stating that the amount of money for that particular homeowner on South 1st had already been expended and that she has an additional property which is not the City of Monroe’s problem and there is no money to cover that issue.
Dr. Armstrong stated that the 42 page document was not included in their Council packet and they were given access to the information less than an hour ago. He said after a moment of scanning through the information, he said it looks good to him but would appreciate the opportunity to be given it in more time to read it to give it proper consideration before a vote on something that hasn’t been seen. Ms. Murphy said the document is the same document that has been present every year; she stated the only thing that changes in the document is the amount of money received from HUD.
The Public Hearing was declared closed with no other questions or comments.
1a. Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes seconded by Mr. Clark and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6216, authorizing James E. Mayo, Mayor, to submit the City of Monroe’s Program Year 2014 Consolidated Annual Action Plan to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) Project No. B-14-MC-22-0005 and HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME) Project No. M-14-MC-22-0206 and The State of Louisiana’s Department of Social Services FFY 2014 Emergency Shelter Grant Program and further providing with respect thereto.
Comments: Ms. Nell Bradley asked for the amount of the Grant and Ms. Murphy stated the amount of the grant $667,538 and the money is spread out among all programs with the exception of the Homeless program which as explained earlier in that it must be competed for in order to receive funding. Ms. Murphy stated her salary and everything that operates her office, including all programs comes from the grant funds. She said there is a twenty percent cap on the grant amount of $667,538
PROPOSED CONDEMNATIONS: NONE.
ACCEPTANCE OR REJECTION OF BIDS:
(a) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to Accept the bids of Unisource, Inc., of Shreveport, LA and Peregrine Corporation of Monroe, LA for a one (1) year supply contract of Computer Paper/Stock Forms Ref # 85-1078 as recommended by the Director of Administration as complying with the specifications of this bid and has been cleared by Tax & Revenue. Funds are derived from the Inventory Account and billed to the Divisions accordingly. (There were no comments from the public).
(b) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to Accept the bid of MFG Water Treatment of Union City, PA for the Water Treatment Plant Sedimentation Basin Collection Unit# 85-1191 as recommended by the Director of Administration as meeting the specification for this bid and for being the overall low bid. MFG Water Treatment meets the specification for this bid and cleared by the Tax & Revenue Division. Funds for this service will come from the Water Capital Account. (There were no comments from the public).
(c) Upon a motion by Mrs. Ezernack, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Accept the bid of Gulf State Engineering Co. of New Orleans, LA for the Water Treatment Plant Raw Water Basin Influent Valve Project, Project # 85-1192 as recommended by the Director of Administration as meeting the specification for this bid and for being the overall low bid. Gulf State Engineering meets the specification for this bid and cleared by the Tax & Revenue Division. Funds for this service will come from the Water Capital Account. (There were no comments from the public).
(d) Upon a motion by Mrs. Ezernack, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to Accept the bid of Mann Fleming of West Monroe, LA for the Water Treatment Plant Basin Flocculator Project # 85-1193 as recommended by the Director of Administration as meeting the specification for this bid and for being the overall low bid. Mann Fleming meets the specification for this bid and cleared by the Tax & Revenue Division. Funds for this service will come from the Water Capital Account. (There were no comments from the public).
(e) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to Accept the bid of Sandra’s Duty LLC of Monroe, LA for Uniforms for Fire Department Ref # 85-1258 as recommended by the Director of Administration as meeting the specification for this bid. Sandra’s Duty LLC meets the specification of this bid and has been cleared by the Tax & Revenue Division.
Comments: Ms. Bradley came forward to ask what the total cost of the bid was. Mr. Gibson said he did not have the information with him, but would call Ms. Bradley and go over any and all information with her.
RESOLUTIONS AND MINUTE ENTRIES:
Department of Administration:
(a) Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Ms. Blakes and approved with Ms. Blakes, Mr. Wilson and Mr. Clark voting yes; Dr. Armstrong voting no; Mrs. Ezernack abstaining, to approve 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 Cleared)
Comments: Ms. Nell Bradley asked about the ownership of this business, the liquor license and the distance requirement and operating the business without an occupational license for years. Mr. Tim Lewis said it is the same business, but didn’t agree with the number of years of operating the business without a license. He stated there was a second distance report done and it did pass the distance requirement. Mr. Fisher explained the measuring of the business sidewalk to the school and the distance from the business to the school was three hundred feet. Ms. Blakes asked if the distance was measured was more or less than three hundred feet. Mr. Fisher answered that it was three hundred feet.
Dr. Armstrong commented that he did not understand how two competent people could measure and get two different measurements and he asked for clarification on this. Mr. Lewis said his Department, Tax & Revenue requests a distance report and at that point it goes to the Engineering Department and they send back the report to them yea or nay. He said the initial report was no and the second report came back and his understanding of the report is that it was measured from the sidewalks which created angles, which created more distance, and as opposed to going straight, the distance report was done correctly the second time. He stated the second request for a distance report was not requested by his office, but it was requested by Mr. Fisher. Ms. Blakes stated that the City was already in litigation with one night club and a bar and asked Ms. Summersgill, how the City stood right now on the issue. Mr. Summersgill asked Mr. Lewis if he had presented Council with a document and Mr. Lewis said he had given the Council the information when application was first submitted and has changed some with the distance report and the question at the time was if the business had a grandfather clause which negated the school and the distance report necessity. He said with it passing and whether the grandfather clause was good or not, it was irrelevant and that point; when the business had a lapse in their occupational and liquor licenses, it was decided by Tax & Revenue to treat it as a new business, because this is what the Muni-Code directs them to do and with the new distance report passing, this became irrelevant. He said the letter given to Council is up to them as to how they want to proceed with the other issues.
Dr. Armstrong asked if the Jazz Club currently had an Occupational License, Liquor License and if they have paid their taxes, previously and all of this information is pertinent before a decision can be made. Mr. Lewis said the Occupational License have been paid and can’t speak about a State Liquor License, but last he heard the answer was no they did not have one; the sales tax situation has been resolved for the time being.
Ms. Blakes commented that she was a bit confused about the State Liquor License; Mr. Lewis explained that a business that sells alcohol, there are certain wholesale agencies that the businesses are required to purchase their alcohol from and they are required to get a liquor license, they have to bring the local liquor license to Baton Rouge in order to obtain a State Liquor License and if no State Liquor License is obtained then the business can’t purchase from a wholesaler, he said this is not one hundred percent because he has never sold alcohol to a bar, but that it is his understanding from a seminar years ago. He said last he heard the club did not have a State Liquor License and then asked if Mr. Barnes or anyone present could clarify.
Mr. Otis Jones came forward in reference to the liquor license and said they were still grandfathered in; he stated the C.O. never expired, they were always clear; always had occupational license. He said the City did a Sales Tax Audit when they made an application to the City and said they can’t make the city give them a liquor license, pending the sales tax. He said they were established before the school. His understanding in speaking with Mr. Lewis was the first time the distance report was done, it was irrelevant; reason being it was irrelevant is because they were there prior to the school. He said in regard to the State License that the State follows whatever the City of Monroe does the city first then the State; he said his business may decide that they don’t want a State License and operate as a private club/membership club, it’s legal. He said they have been going through this too long and are not open when the school is open, there are no signs posted about the business and if the school wasn’t present, you would not know about the business. He said law enforcement has never had to come out, neither do they cater to the young people, it is very private. He told Ms. Blakes that he hopes this information clears up what was told to him regarding the state side. He added that the application is being made for the license just in case they want to lease it out to someone else, but would still be grandfathered in.
Ms. Blakes asked Legal, if they were within their bounds and Ms. Summersgill stated yes they were within their bounds; Ms. Summersgill asked Mr. Lewis if the Sales Tax for this business up to date and he said yes and commented that he follows the rules and stands by the letter everything that Tax & Revenue did in this situation. He said he didn’t want in impropriety that there was anything personal; when an establishment is running without a license, it will be dealt with, such is what happened in this case; nothing personal.
Mrs. Ezernack asked Mr. Lewis if everything that Council had in their packet was the same with the exception of the distance changing and it now being cleared; Mr. Lewis said the distance report cleared, the sales tax is a nice satisfaction, occupational license is now paid up and it did lapse and the Municipal Code stated that if a business has a lapse over six months then it should be treated as a new business, but is irrelevant at this point and he said Mr. Jones is correct because with the distance report passing then the grandfather rule is irrelevant. He said at this point, the only issue for Mr. Jones to do is to speak to the State about the State License because the Class A License (selling of beer and alcohol on the premises) that he has applied for would require him to obtain a State Liquor License. Ms. Ezernack stated that the Council does not police that issue as it would be something that; Mr. Lewis stated that he has a Fiduciary responsibility with the State, like they would have with him and if he knew it was going on and didn’t report it to the State, he said he would be just as liable and stated he was not going to be liable. Mrs. Ezernack stated that the City license does come first; Mr. Lewis said yes, it is his understanding that the city does come first and they have to take it down to Baton Rouge.
(b) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6217, authorizing James E. Mayo to sign an Agreement for Services with Louisiana Agricultural Corporation to provide Claims Administration Workers’ Compensation Claims and further providing with respect thereto. (There were no comments from the public).
(c) Upon a motion by Mrs. Ezernack, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6218, authorizing James E. Mayo to sign a Service Agreement with St. Francis Medical Center, Inc. for drug and alcohol testing for the Monroe Transit System and further providing with respect thereto.
Comments: Ms. Bradley asked if bids were received from Glenwood and Conway; if this was for new employees or random testing.
Ms. Summersgill stated bids were not done, because the City has done business with St. Francis/Ocumed for years for this service and must be very specific with regard to State and Federal Guidelines and it is a federally mandated agreement to receive funds for the Transit System. Ms. Bradley told Ms. Summersgill that she feels all of the hospitals know the rules and guidelines and should be given the opportunity; she asked also if the contract states that if it is broken that they still must pay the money; Ms. Summersgill asked Mr. Bradley what did she mean about breaking the contract; Ms. Summersgill said they are not owed any money unless they do drug testing for the City and doesn’t know if other hospitals have the same services that St. Francis provides and that they are closer to the location of the Transit System and that Ocumed does a good job for the City and has been able to meet all of the Federal and State guidelines. She said it would be for all employees when the situation arises that testing is required.
Ms. Blakes asked Ms. Summersgill if a fee as well as a service fee. Ms. Summersgill said the City pays a flat fee and is being done not only with Transit employees but all of City employees; she said they charge a flat fee only when the city sends someone to them.
Department of Planning & Urban Development:
(a) Upon a motion by Mrs. Ezernack, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6219, amending the Heritage Preservation Commission By Laws, Rules and Procedures by adding a time limit on all approvals of six months to all certificates of appropriateness.
Comments: Ms. Nell Bradley asked if this was being changed to six months and what was it before; Mr. Fisher said there was no time limit before.
(b) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mrs. Ezernack and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6220, authorizing James E. Mayo, Mayor, to sign and execute a grant application to the Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation and further providing with respect thereto. (There were no comments from the public).
Legal Department: NONE.
(a) A Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6221, approving the application for a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture Citizen’s Institute on Rural Design Work Shop for 2014.
Comments: Ms. Nell Bradley asked for more information on what the Grant and Workshop entailed. Rod Guy, Grant Writer for the city came forward and stated there would be a $7,000 in-kind match required; a location for the workshop was required and it would be used as in-kind for the match and will not cost the city any money; the Federal Government will provide $36,000 in expert speakers for the Revitalization of Downtown and will be a two and a half day workshop and a Downtown Plan will have been produced as a result of the workshop. All citizens in Ouachita Parish are invited to attend the workshop and do not know the cost to the participant right now.
(b) Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6222, approving the application for grant funds from the 2015 FHWA Recreational Trails Program for Louisiana (FRTPL), as established by CFDA 20.219: the Masur Museum to the River Market Hiking Trail. (There were no comments from the public).
(c) Upon a motion by Mrs. Ezernack, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6223, approving the application for grant funds from the 2015 FHWA Recreational Trails Program for Louisiana (FRTPL), as established by CFDA 20.219.: Forsythe Point Island Drive Hiking Trail.
(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. 6224, approving the application for grant funds from the 2015 FHWA Recreational Trails Program for Louisiana (FRTPL), as established by CFDA 20.219.:the South Third Street Hiking Trail.
(There were no comments from the public).
Department of Public Works: NONE.
(a) Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Mrs. Ezernack and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6225, granting an exception to the Open Container Ordinance to the Northeast
Louisiana Arts Council pursuant to Monroe City Code Sec. 12-231 D. (Open Container Ordinance), and further providing with respect thereto. (There were no comments from the public).
(b) Upon a motion by Mrs. Ezernack, seconded by Mr. Clark and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6226, granting an exception to the Open Container Ordinance to the Downtown
River Market pursuant to Monroe City Code Sec. 12-231 D. (Open Container Ordinance), and
further providing with respect thereto. (There were no comments from the public).
Comments: Ms. Blakes stated that since the road will be closed for the event have homeowners in that area been contacted. Mr. Ross came forward to state that Ms. Gatling is working on making sure that everyone is aware.
(c) Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Mrs. Ezernack and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6227, granting an exception to the Open Container Ordinance to the American Red Cross of Northeast Louisiana Chapter pursuant to Monroe City Code Sec. 12-231 D. (Open Container Ordinance), and further providing with respect thereto. (There were no comments from the public).
Comments: Ms. Blakes asked if the hangar was owned by the city and Ms. Summersgill said it is owned by JPS Aviation.
(d) Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Mrs. Ezernack and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6228, confirming the appointment of Stephanie Rivers to the Southside Economic Development District Board of Commissioners and further providing with respect thereto.
Comments: Dr. Armstrong asked if Ms. Rivers was present; she was present and stood to be acknowledged by Council; Mr. Clark asked that she come forward and introduce herself to everyone. Ms. Stephanie Rivers came forward to introduce herself as Director of Business Development and Public Relations for University Health Conway and she stated as part of the new leadership team at Conway they are very excited to partner and help revitalize Southside of Monroe, which is where the hospital is demographically located and thinks that it is a good opportunity for partnership. Mr. Clark welcomed and thanked her for serving in this capacity on behalf of the City; he appreciates the hospital for any and all endeavors that they render to the SEDD.
Department of Community Affairs:
(a) ) Upon a motion by Mrs. Ezernack, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6229, authorizing James E. Mayo, Mayor of Monroe, to execute the substantial completion of Emily P. Robinson Community Center Gym Ceiling by and between the City of Monroe and Tempco Insulation, Inc. otherwise providing with respect thereto. (There were no comments from the public).
Police Department: NONE.
Fire Department: NONE.
(a) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6230, authorizing James E. Mayo, Mayor, to execute Close-out Change Order No. One (1) to MLU Airport Security Upgrade-Automatic Gate Controls, between the City of Monroe and Twin City Electric, LLC, for a decrease of $4,768.00 of said project. (There were no comments from the public).
(b) Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6231, accepting the bid of Womack & Sons Construction Group, Inc. of Harrisonburg, La, in the amount of $195,784.00, for the Benoit Community Center Emergency Water line Repair and further authorizing James E. Mayo, Mayor, to enter into and execute a contract for said work. (There were no comments from the public).
(c) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6232, accepting as substantially complete work done by and between the City of Monroe and Twin City Electric, LLC, for MLU Airport Security Upgrade-Automatic Gate Controls Project, and further providing with respect thereto. (There were no comments from the public).
(d) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6233, accepting the bid of Central Electric Inc. of West Monroe, La., in the amount of $1, 550,000 for the Monroe Civic Center Generator Project, and further authorizing James E. Mayo, Mayor, to enter into and execute a contract for said work.
Comments: Mr. Clark asked how this project was being funded and Ms. Golden said it is paid for by a one hundred percent funded grant. Mr. Clark stated for the record, Ms. Nell Bradley came forward to comment but took her seat when it was stated the project was being funded by a grant.
INTRODUCTION OF RESOLUTIONS & ORDINANCES:
(a) Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Introduce an Ordinance amending adopted Ordinance #11,406 Entitled "Dedicating a 60’wide by 2,059’ long, more or less, street right-of-way (Technology Drive) located north of Century Link Drive; east of U.S. Highway 165 and west of Bayou Desiard and further providing with respect thereto”. (P&Z). (There were no comments from the public).
(b) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to add to the agenda to Introduce An Ordinance to dedicate a Utility Easement, from the East Right-of-Way Line of Technology Drive (Where the Technology Drive Turns South) East to Bayou Desiard and further providing with respect thereto. (There were no comments from the public).
(c) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to Introduce An Ordinance to dedicate a Utility Easement, from the East Right-of-Way Line of Technology Drive (Where the Technology Drive Turns South) East to Bayou Desiard and further providing with respect thereto. (There were no comments from the public).
RESOLUTIONS AND ORDINANCES FOR SECOND READING AND FINAL ADOPTION:
(a) Ordinance No. 11,468, was offered for final adoption by Ms. Blakes and on her motion seconded by Mr. Wilson was unanimously approved and adopted 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)
The Chairman opened the Public Hearing and seeing no one come forward the Hearing was declared closed.
(b) Ordinance No. 11,469, was offered for final adoption by Mr. Wilson and on his motion seconded by Ms. Blakes was unanimously approved and adopted setting fees for certain recreational facilities and activities at City of Monroe Recreational Facilities and further providing with respect thereto. (Comm. Affairs)
The Chairman opened the Public Hearing and seeing no one come forward the Hearing was declared closed.
(c) Ordinance No. 11,470, was offered for final adoption by Mr. Wilson and on his motion seconded by Mrs. Ezernack was unanimously approved and adopted amending and adjusting the City of Monroe Operating Budget for the fiscal year 2013-2014. (4th Qtr.) (Admin.)
The Chairman opened the Public Hearing and seeing no one come forward the Hearing was declared closed.
1. Earline Bryant came forward to ask when the Emily P Robinson open to the public. Mr. Watson said it should be back open in about a week. Ms. Bryant reported the grass is extremely high in some of the vacant lots in South Monroe as well as the alleys having high grass; she said she spoke with Mr. Hopkins and Mr. Wilson and would like to know when this will be taken care of. Mr. Clark asked Mr. Janway if he could provide Ms. Bryant with a current mowing schedule and he said we will accommodate the public the mowing schedule by placing it. Mr. Janway said he does not know the exact mowing schedule but would like to address the comments made by Mr. Wilson; Mr. Janway stated in regarding to the tractors that mow the lots and mowers that mow the lots will never work together because no lots are mowed on the North side; ditches are mowed on the North side and ninety five percent of the lots mowed are on the Southside of Monroe, there are two thousand lots that are mowed and two weeks ago there was over seven inches of rain and no lots got mowed. Mr. Janway asked that she contact Mr. Hopkins for a lot mowing schedule.
2. Ray Jones, Jr spoke about the how the Southside of Monroe can grow and the possibility of growth and great things happening in the City of Monroe. There is an opportunity now to make a difference in the City.
3. Marie Brown extended an invitation to an all males ages 12-25 event "The Po Folks Poet” presenting "Daddy”, to be held at Wossman High School, May 3, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
4. Otis Jones came forward and stated that as former Chairman of the SEDD, the Board did great things on the Southside of Monroe, including giving grants to several businesses on the South side of Monroe, including Best Buy and K&Z Carwash on Renwick Street; they also did three clean ups annually in conjunction with Home Depot and the City of Monroe. He said the past board was a good board and that he enjoyed working with that board. He asked that he go on record as stating that he has known Senator Francis Thompson for a long time and that he talks out of both sides of his mouth; he stated the SEDD Board in the past had approached Senator Thompson about funding for the District and that there was $400,000 left in Priority II funding by Senator Charles Jones in 2007 and that funding was removed he asked Senator Thompson as to why it was removed and could not get an answer from him; there were some great things going on and the funds were appropriated to another entity/project but not to the SEDD.
There being no further business to come before the council, the meeting was adjourned at 7:55 p.m., upon motion of Mr. Wilson and seconded by Ms. Blakes.
Mr. Eddie Clark
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.