Monroe City Council Minutes

0 Comments

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

June 10, 2014
6:00 p.m.

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

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

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

There was absent: None

Chairman Clark announced that a quorum was present and that the Invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance would be led by Mr. Clark’s designee, Rev. John Ross, Community Affairs Director.

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

Dr. Armstrong had no communications.

Mrs. Ezernack welcomed each one out to Council Meeting.  She acknowledged the upcoming week that would honor Sanitation workers and stated her appreciation for their efforts and that they do an awesome job.

Ms. Blakes welcomed and thanked everyone for coming to Council Meeting.  She thanked the Public Works Department for taking care of the fence at Mt. Zion and am sure that Ms. Detiege is pleased; Ms. Blakes also thanked Mr. Janway and his department for digging the ditches in her district, as this will allow the water to flow through; she thanked Ms. Golden and the Engineer Department for taking care of the tree problem on Booth Street.  Ms. Blakes asked that everyone would drive safely this summer through the neighborhoods as the children are out playing in the community.  Ms. Blakes reminded parents of the services provided at the community centers for the kids this summer; she also announced that Cypress Point Elementary School’s Beta Club who placed first in the state competition would be traveling to Richmond, Virginia on June 19th to compete in the National Beta Club competition and would appreciate donations to assist in this endeavor; donations can be made by calling the school.

Mr. Wilson welcomed and thanked everyone for coming to Council meeting.  He thanked Minister Modicue and wife, Ms. Thomas, Ms. Brenda Williams for going door to door in the rain, as some have volunteered to be street captains.  He also thanked DEDD and Ouachita Riverfront Commission for all of their hard work that they are doing in downtown.  He acknowledged the summer workers and knows that they are anticipating their first check.  He wished all Fathers a Happy Father’s Day.

Mayor Mayo had no communications.

Mr. Clark welcomed each one present and announced the City Council’s new thirty minute television show, "Your City” which is broadcast Saturdays on KMCT; it features constituents throughout the five districts and also features various businesses, this is yet another avenue that Council has to keep the public informed.  Mr. Clark thanked Public Works for cutting the grass behind Wossman High School and also thanked Mr. Person for repairing the sidewalks on Oregon Trail; it is appreciated by the citizens in that area.  Mr. Clark thanked those citizens who are purchasing adjudicated properties, it helps when the community is buying these properties because it revitalizes the areas in the Districts.  Mr. Clark read an acknowledgement from the Fire Department concerning their Community Outreach effort, "Smoke Alarms Save Lives”, this initiative will provide citizens with Smoke Alarms that can be acquired by going to the Public Safety Center, located at 1810 MLK Jr. Blvd; you can call the Fire Department, Chief Terry Williams or the Mayor’s Office.

Upon a motion of Dr. Armstrong and seconded by Mr. Wilson, the minutes of the Legal and Regular Session of May 27, 2014 were unanimously approved as presented. (There were no comments from the public).

PRESENTATION: NONE.

PUBLIC HEARINGS: (6PM)  (a) A Public Hearing to hear and consider all comments, protests and objections relative to the 2014 Justice Assistance Program (JAG) Grant for the Monroe Police Department.  No one came forward with comments, protests or objections.  Chairman Clark considered the Hearing closed.

PROPOSED CONDEMNATIONS:

1. 3612 Gayton Street (D3) (Owner - Mattie Little) "Notice to Show Cause” was served. Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Dr. Armstrong and unanimously approved to be given 30 days or until July 10, 2014, in which to bring the structures into compliance with the code or demolish the structures and clean the lot.  (There were no comments from the public).

Comments:  Mr. Kelly reported that the property owner is deceased, but the grandson who pays the property taxes is aware of the problem and doesn’t mind the property being demolished, but does not have the funds available to do it himself.

2. 1308 (1304) South 4th Street (D4) - (Owner - Patricia Brown) "Notice to Show Cause” was served. Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Dr. Armstrong and unanimously approved to be given 30 days or until July 10, 2014, in which to bring the structures into compliance with the code or demolish the structures and clean the lot. 

Comments:  Mr. Kelly said the property owner has taken out a demolition permit on May 29th; he said in speaking with them on May 19th, the owner said that the demolition process had started and he does believe the matter will be taken care of. 

Ms. Patricia Brown, owner came forward to say that the gentleman who will demolish the building will do it as soon as the weather permits; Ms. Brown stated that she does have the property boarded up, along with no trespassing signs and she said vandals go inside and strip the property of wiring.

Mr. Wilson made an observation to Mr. Janway that he noticed some of the properties are still standing and a gentleman is sleeping in one of the properties on South 4th Street, that have been condemned. He asked how soon are the houses being torn down, as we are using the Public Works Department to do this work.  Mr. Janway stated that the crews are keeping up with the Council’s actions and are tracking it with a spread sheet that is being given to Council monthly; the spreadsheet entails what phase of the demolition process that the structure is in once they receive the paperwork, if the paperwork is not received then it will not be on the spreadsheet.  Mr. Janway asked for the address of the property and would check on the status.  Mr. Wilson asked Mr. Janway if he thought they would go back to private businesses tearing down the condemned properties.

ACCEPTANCE OR REJECTION OF BIDS:  NONE.

RESOLUTIONS AND MINUTE ENTRIES:

Department of Administration:

(a) Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Consider request from the Purchasing Division of the Administration Department for authorization from the City Council to advertise for a one (1) year supply contract of Cement, Sand Concrete & Gravel. Funds will be derived from the Inventory Account, which has a balance of $105,781.00. The divisions will be billed according to purchase.

Comments:  Ms. Bradley asked if advertising was the same as putting bids out; Mr. Gibson said yes it was a request to advertise, the same thing.

(b) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to Consider request from the Purchasing Division of the Administration Department for authorization from the City Council to advertise for a one (1) year supply contract of Janitorial Products. Funds for these purchases will be derived from the Inventory Account, which has a balance of $105,781.00 and the Divisions will be billed accordingly.  (There were no comments from the public).

Department of Planning & Urban Development: NONE.

Legal Department: NONE.

Mayor’s Office:

(a) Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6251, authorizing James E. Mayo, Mayor of the City of Monroe, to sign and execute a grant application to the Louisiana Department of Transportation, 2014 Transportation Alternative Program Grant for a Scenic Beautification Project on South Grand Street.  (There were no comments from the public).

 (b) Upon on a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Adopt  Resolution No. 6252, authorizing James E. Mayo, Mayor of the City of Monroe, to sign and execute a grant application to the Louisiana Department of Transportation, 2014 Transportation Alternative Program Grant for a Scenic Beautification Project on Louisville/Desiard Street Corridor Phase 3.

Comments:  Ms. Nell Bradley came forward to ask what the Scenic Beautification Project was. Mr. William A. Guy, Grant Coordinator for the City explained that the grants were for sidewalks and antique lighting. There are a total of four grants:  Louisville Avenue to Masur Museum; University Avenue to Lowrey Street; Lamy Lane to University Avenue; Lowrey Street to Kansas Lane; these areas will have sidewalks and street lighting on both sides of the streets.  Ms. Bradley commented that she did not think there was enough room for sidewalks along South Grand; Mr. Guy said they would do what they could on South Grand and the Engineers would decide where the sidewalks would go; Ms. Bradley asked if they would all be handicap accessible and Mr. Guy stated that they all would be handicap accessible, 5 feet wide with handicap ramps.

Ms. Blakes asked about the sidewalks for Carroll High School as she has been inquiring about them for some time; Mr. Guy said this was a different grant program and that she is referring to a Safe Routes to school grant and he said it is only for elementary and junior high schools; he said this program will not start until October and the grant will be submitted in November and is taking recommendations for the programs and the schools must be willing participants in the grant process.

 (c) Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6253,  authorizing James E. Mayo, Mayor of the City of Monroe, to sign and  execute a grant application to the Louisiana Department of Transportation, 2014 Transportation Alternative Program Grant for a Scenic Beautification Project on Louisville/Desiard Street Corridor Phase 4. 

Comments:  Mr. Hackney asked where did the funding for the grants come from.  Mr. Guy commented that eighty percent comes from the Federal Highway Department and is passed through to the La. DOTD and the City is responsible for twenty percent of the grant and all engineering.  Ms. Nell Bradley asked what the total amount of the grant was.  Mr. Rod Guy said the amount for the cost of each grant has not been determined because Denmon Engineering is putting the cost estimates together and he doesn’t presently have the costs.  Ms. Bradley asked why Denmon, doesn’t the City have an Engineering Department; she said some of this need to be questioned.

(d) Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6254, authorizing James E. Mayo, Mayor of the City of Monroe, to sign and execute a grant application to the Louisiana Department of Transportation, 2014 Transportation Alternative Program Grant for a Scenic Beautification Project on Louisville/Desiard Street Corridor Phase 5. (There were no comments from the public).

Department of Public Works:

(a)  Upon a motion by Mrs. Ezernack, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Adopt  Resolution No. 6255,  authorizing James E. Mayo, Mayor to execute a Maintenance Agreement with the La. Department of Transportation and Development as per the attached agreement and further providing with respect thereto.  (There were no comments from the public).

Comments:  Mr. Wilson asked how many right-a-way miles was the City mowing.  Mr. Janway stated the total mileage was in the contract by type of roadway.  Mr. Wilson asked if this was an annual contract and Mr. Janway stated that this was the sixth or seventh year of providing the services, (since 2007).  Mr. Wilson said a lot of the City equipment is being used for those services for the state and wanted to know if Mr. Janway thought that the City would be do a better job in the inner city by mowing the lots, ditches in a more timely manner; Mr. Wilson said the highways and right-a-ways are looking good, but the inner city is not looking to par.  Mr. Janway said Public Works has six more tractors to cut the road right-a- ways and five more tractors to cut lots and through the month of May, the total lots mowed were 1450 lots mowed since April 1 and he expects to see the productivity increased, but the rain has played havoc with this.  Mr. Wilson said he was glad to hear Mr. Janway say that there would be an improvement.

(b) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to Adopt  Resolution No. 6256, accepting the bid of Kutchins and Groh for On-Call Planning and Consultant Services.

Comments:  Ms. Nell Bradley asked what the bid amount was and is the service used as an on needed basis; Mr. Ron Phillips said the cost will be determined by the Administrations of each grant and the funds will be paid from the administrative costs of the grants, Federal and State.  Ms. Bradley asked how many grant writers did the City have and if someone in the City could write the grants; Mr. Phillips said the grants would be for the FAA and the State Department of Transportation.

Council:

Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mr. Wilson; Voting Yes: Mr. Clark, Ms. Blakes, Mr. Wilson; Voting No: Mrs. Ezernack; Abstaining: Dr.Armstrong and approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6257, appointing the Monroe Free Press as the Official Journal of the City of Monroe, Louisiana, pursuant to the Louisiana R. S. 43:141 et. seq. and further providing with respect thereto. (Blakes).

Comments:  Jim Burrell, Advertising Director for the News Star, spoke on behalf of the News Star being selected as the City of Monroe’s Official Journal and commented that when choosing the Official Journal, circulation of the paper should be taken into account; public notice is to notify as many people as possible, cost effectively as possible, he thought it was imperative to take into account the number of days that the publication is published; there is a lot of liability if you are not able to keep up with the various statutes for various grants and there are certain notices that must by law published three days in a row or two days, certain times; he told Council that as of the latest current numbers the circulation of the News Star on Sundays is 30,967 and daily it is 26,000 and is substantially higher than the journal being considered by Council.

Mrs. Ezernack asked Mr. Burrell to come back up because she had a question; she stated that she is aware that this was put out for bids and did receive the copies of the bids submitted.  She asked Mr. Burrell to explain the column inch and the characters per inch, so that we can know what we are dealing with, apples to apples.  Mr. Burrell said he would try to explain; he said there are several considerations to take into account; for example, the News Star is a ten column classified newspaper and in the bid they submitted, they informed Council that they felt they could do it for one dollar eighty an inch and it equates to two hundred characters per inch and as comparing costs of legal, the characters per inch is the most comparable to getting apples to apples; the Free press is getting 300 characters per inch and are getting more characters per inch than the News Star. 

Mrs. Ezernack said there have been some instances because of using the weekly paper instead of a daily paper that we have encountered some challenges, because of the advertising requirements.  She said she would like to hear from Planning and Zoning and the Bid Department to find out what some of those challenges have been and to estimate how many projects have been delayed.

Ms. Joanne Poret, Planning and Zoning came forward and stated that she did not know how many projects had been delayed, but there have been things delayed; she said it was told that the Free Press takes a week off for holidays and this have delayed several projects at that time; she said our advertisement; when things are sent to Council then Council have to advertise because a meeting have to be skipped in order to get Ordinances adopted and this has delayed some things; she said she doesn’t have a number.  Ms. Poret stated that her advertising budget has doubled and it depends upon how many cases they have for each Board and how many things are advertised; don’t know how much is spent per meeting, but do know since advertising in the Free Press that it has doubled. 

Mrs. Ezernack said that is what she is hearing; people that are coming through her Department with certain projects have been delayed from a timely consideration by the Council because of the delay in just being a weekly publication instead of a daily publication.

Mrs. Ezernack asked Mr. Toney Gibson what types of challenges he had encountered with bids, because she have heard some things and read some things.

Mr. Gibson said he had not experienced any issues and the only thing they have had to do when proposals are done was to go out in another publication.  He said other than that they have not experienced any problems.

Mrs. Ezernack stated to Mr. Gibson, that they have had to double; Mr. Gibson stated that no one has called and complained about anything, haven’t received any complaints; he said the Free Press has worked with them.
 
Mrs. Ezernack asked Mr. Gibson if they have had to go back and put bids in other publications.  Mr. Gibson responded that occasionally they have had to put it in another publication; he said anytime that things are being done for the FAA, it has to be placed in the Baton Rouge Advocate; he said this would have to be placed in the Baton Rouge Advocate even if they were using the News Star.

Mrs. Ezernack stated that she had one other statement that she needed to make.

Mr. Wilson commented that the last few days that he had received a few calls about the Free Press in the ninth hour, but hadn’t gotten anything in the past and said that we started out with a little rumble and, there were a few things that had gone wrong; but the Free Press has gotten it together and he had not received any calls until the last few days; things were going good until the ninth hour and he doesn’t understand what the problem is; he said no one has called him and he had not received any calls from Ms. Poret or any other department, not even Administration and he thought things were going good.

Mrs. Ezernack made a motion to amend the Resolution to substitute the News Star as the Official Journal in place of the Free Press.  The motion failed for lack of second.

Mr. Clark asked if there were any more questions by the Council.  Mrs. Ezernack stated that she had received calls from her constituents just because of the lack of information and questions that have led Planning and Zoning to have a lot of challenges and these are the challenges that she have heard with project delays and not being informed and that kind of thing and it behooves us to be able to communicate as we have sat up here and said it is all about the communication and thinks in order to communicate we should go with the journal which reaches the largest population and do know that when the News Star was the Official Journal that the minutes and a lot of other notices were published in the Free Press and if we are going to and it appears that we are going to also appoint the Free Press again this year as the Official Journal, then we need to also be publishing in the News Star just to spread the communication endeavor where everyone is reached with the information; she said she thinks this would help with the adjudicated property information, that is where this information had been seen at that particular point.

Mayor Mayo stated that the comment made, that was thinking that everything was okay, he doesn’t know where those comments came from; we have been saying this all along that there have been some challenges with having a weekly newspaper and when this passes we will start getting calls like we did the last time concerning it because they think that the Administration is initiating this and we have referred those calls to the Council.  We are having challenges and Ms. Poret indicated the paper is off a week for Christmas, it is more than a week it is almost a month off for Christmas and when the Free Press takes off for a week or two before Christmas and then don’t come back until the second week in January, then you are talking about a whole month where you can’t do anything; all of the projects that we have are on hold and there are so many  other issues, but to say there hasn’t been any problems; this is what we have been talking about for a whole year.
  
Department of Community Affairs: 

Upon a motion by Mr. Clark, seconded by Ms. Blakes, and unanimously approved to add to the Agenda to Accept the Bid of RDR Construction, LLC, Monroe, LA for the remodeling of the Animal Diet Kitchen located at the La. Purchase Gardens and Zoo as recommended by the Director of Administration. (There were no comments from the public).

Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Ms. Blakes, and unanimously approved to Accept the Bid of RDR Construction, LLC, Monroe, LA for the remodeling of the Animal Diet Kitchen located at the La. Purchase Gardens and Zoo as recommended by the Director of Administration.

Comments:  Ms. Bradley came forward and asked for the amount of the bid.  Mr. Barnes stated the bid amount was $33,780 and is coming from the Mayor’s Economic Development Fund and it has a $50,000 commitment and is spending only the $33,780.  Ms. Bradley asked if it was okay to use this funding source for the Zoo and Mr. Barnes answered yes. 

Police Department: NONE.

Fire Department: NONE.

Engineering Services:

(a) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to Adopt  Resolution No. 6258, approving the execution of a Maintenance Agreement by and between the City of Monroe and the State of Louisiana, Department of Transportation and Development, for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2014 and ending June 30, 2015, relative to traffic signals in the state highway system which are located within the limits of the City of Monroe, and further providing with respect thereto.

Comments:  Ms. Johnnie Thomas asked if there was a list of lights within the City of Monroe to be considered.  Ms. Golden said, yes, there are 76 lights and they are itemized in the document.

Ms. Bradley asked if we had to pay for this or is this just giving them permission to handle this service; Ms. Golden said the Department of Transportation pays the City of Monroe about $180,000 per year for the city services to maintain the traffic signals on the state system and the money is coming into the City from the State.  Ms. Bradley said it was good information to know that City employees can change out the state lights.

Mr. Wilson asked about South 8th and Texas Avenue being included in this agreement.  Ms. Golden stated that location does not have signal lights and therefore is not included in the agreement.  Mr. Wilson asked Ms. Golden if she was still working on the roundabout and she stated that the Council at the last meeting authorized the engagement of Neel Schaffer and that contract is in place now and will be scheduling a meeting  and will ask about a work order task estimate and conferring with the Mayor to take it to the next step.  Mr. Wilson congratulated Ms. Golden on receiving her La. license. 

Ms. Johnnie Thomas asked that the city would be concerned about not only the beautification of the city but the safety of the city.  She asked that the city would consider adopting the corner of South 8th and Texas Avenue.

INTRODUCTION OF RESOLUTIONS & ORDINANCES:

(a) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to Introduce an Ordinance authorizing James Mayo, Mayor, to enter into and execute a Lease Agreement between the City of Monroe and Onyx Advertising at the Airport, for certain property located at the Monroe Regional Airport, and further providing with respect thereto. (Airport)

Comments:  Ms. Nell Bradley asked how much rent did the City get for the office space.  Mr. Phillips said the city gets $1200 annually for the 10x11 space.  Ms. Bradley asked if he said $100 per month and Mr. Phillips said yes.  She said it was a mighty cheap price to her.  She asked if the utilities were furnished and he said yes they were furnished.  She said it is mighty cheap if the utilities are furnished and said the Council better wake up.

(b) Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Introduce an ordinance adopting and amending the Zoning Map for the City of Monroe, Louisiana and authorize the Clerk to publish notice of Public Hearing to extend a B-3 General Business/Commercial District to include a .34 acre (more or less) tract of land, presently zoned R-1, Single Family Residential, located in Ouachita Parish and more particularly described as follows: 107 and 109 Masonic Avenue – APPLICANT- David Moses - (P&Z)  (There were no comments from the public).

(c) Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Introduce an ordinance adopting and amending the Zoning Map for the City of Monroe, Louisiana and authorize the Clerk to publish notice of Public Hearing Map to extend a B-3 General Business/Commercial District to include a .44 acre (more or less) tract of land, presently zoned B-1, Neighborhood Mixed-Use District, located in Ouachita Parish and more particularly described as follows: 801 Bres Avenue – APPLICANT - Frank Feeback - (P&Z)

Comments:  Ms. Blakes asked if the homeowners had been aware of the Ordinance.  Ms. Poret said that this Ordinance is for 801 Bres Avenue and they do send letters to property owners who live within 300ft. of the property being rezoned.

 (d) Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Introduce an ordinance adopting and amending the Zoning Map for the City of Monroe, Louisiana and authorize the Clerk to publish notice of Public Hearing to rezone a total of 93.96 acres (more or less) tracts of land located in Ouachita Parish – APPLICANT – City of Monroe-(P&Z).  (There were no comments from the public).

(e) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to Introduce an Ordinance authorizing the City of Monroe to acquire a certain 0.424 +/- acre tract of real property from Sunset Realty, Inc. situated in Ouachita Parish for the purpose of construction of the underground pump station in connection with the north area sewer project, and further providing with respect thereto. (Eng.)
(There were no comments from the public).

RESOLUTIONS AND ORDINANCES FOR SECOND READING AND FINAL

ADOPTION:

(a) Ordinance No.  11,475, was offered for final adoption by Dr. Armstrong and on his motion seconded by Mr. Wilson extending and enlarging the boundaries of the City of Monroe, Louisiana, providing for the recordation of the entire boundary as amended: establishing the effective date thereof, and providing further with respect thereto - APPLICANT – Claiborne Place Condominiums Homeowners Association (P&Z)

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

(b) Ordinance No. 11,476, was offered for final adoption by Dr. Armstrong and on his motion seconded by Ms. Blakes,  adopting and amending the Zoning Map for the City of Monroe, Louisiana to zone a ±5.06 acre tract of land, more or less, presently located in Ouachita Parish to R-4, High Density Residential District. This property presently does not have zoning classification as it is being annexed into the city and is more particularly described as follows: Units 1-18, Claiborne Place Condominiums and otherwise known as 3900 Chauvin Lane - APPLICANT - Claiborne Place Condominiums Homeowners Association (P&Z)

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

(c) Ordinance No. 11,477 was offered for final adoption by Dr. Armstrong and on his motion seconded by Ms. Blakes adopting and amending the Zoning Map for the City of Monroe, Louisiana to rezone a ±4.14 acre tract of land presently zoned O-S, Open Space/Recreation District to B-3, General Business/Commercial District, presently located in Ouachita Parish and more particularly described as follows: 4400 DeSiard Street – APPLICANT – Polestar Development (P&Z)

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

(d) Ordinance No. 11,478 was offered for final adoption by Ms. Blakes and on her motion seconded by Dr. Armstrong adopting and amending the Zoning Map for the City of Monroe, Louisiana to rezone a ±.14 acre tract of land presently zoned R-4, High Density Residential to B- 2, Neighborhood Business District, presently located in Ouachita Parish and more particularly described as follows: 4250 DeSiard Street – APPLICANT – Taylor-Robertson, LLC (P&Z)

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


(e)  Ordinance No.  11,479, was offered for final adoption by Mr. Wilson and on his motion seconded by Ms. Blakes adopting and amending the Zoning Map for the City of Monroe, Louisiana to rezone an existing B-2, Neighborhood Business District to a B-3 General Business/Commercial District presently located in Ouachita Parish and more particularly described as follows: 1840 McKeen Place - APPLICANT: Polestar Development (P&Z)

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

(f) Ordinance No.  11,480, was offered for final adoption by Dr. Armstrong and on his motion seconded by Ms. Blakes adopting and amending the Zoning Map for the City of Monroe, Louisiana to rezone a ±5.79 acre tract of land presently zoned B-1, Neighborhood Mixed Use District and R-1, Single Family Residential to B-3, General Business/Commercial District, presently located in Ouachita Parish and more particularly described as follows: 4450 DeSiard Street – APPLICANT - RCH Company, Inc. (P&Z)

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

CITIZENS PARTICIPATION:

1.  Mr. Wayne Hackney said there were a lot of things that went on tonight that could have taken place at a pre council meeting and that pre council meetings were held in the past.  He said the trash has been a problem and nothing has been done; you can drive through south Monroe and find piles of trash that have been there for over a year.  He said there are questions that can’t be answered or won’t be answered.  There are people in positions that can get it done, but will not get it done.  There are lots that need mowing and the grass is very tall.  He said you can’t drive on the North side of town and find  lots with high grass because there are mowing machines on the Northside constantly.  He said Mr. Mayo and Mr. Clark were on TV the other day and talked about what need to take place in South Monroe, but this is as far as it gets, it’s discussed but nothing is ever done about it.  He said a city councilman in South Monroe that doesn’t do a thing, don’t see him riding around; there are boarded up houses and would like to see an Ordinance passed that when a house has burned and boarded up and if it stays boarded up for six months to a year that it should be condemned and torn down.

2.  Ms. Nell Bradley said she visited the Johnson Recreation Center and asked Mr. Ross about the handicap lift chairs and understood that they are there in a box.  She asked when would the pool be opened; Ms. Bradley also said there was a leak in the back of the gym and that the floors are buckled; she said that the floor was expensive and said a new roof had been put on the center; she asked if the leak was fixed at Emily P Robinson Center; She commented that she asked at the last Council Meeting about the liquor license for the 800 Washington Street Bar and asked if anyone had followed up and said that she requested information and had not received any. 

Mr. Clark asked that Ms. Bradley get with the proper City Employees to get her questions answered. Mr. Tim Lewis on the liquor license and Mr. Ross for the Community Centers.

3.  Ms. Earline Bryant said Mr. Hopkins and his staff were on Polk Street and are cleaning out the ditches and cutting the vacant lots on her street; She said he told her that they would get all of the streets, it is a matter of time; she thanked them and appreciated them for their work; Ms. Bryant commented about the sagging pants and said now they are walking the streets in their pajamas and said something must be done about this problem.

4.  Mr. Laith Qaisi said a tree had fallen on the house that his dad owns and the tree has been removed and that they have cut the tree up and are waiting for the city to pick up the tree. He said the house has a hole in the roof, but that he is waiting for his dad to come from overseas and that he should be back to the US during the latter part of August and would ask that they would be given time before the process of condemning the property begins.  Mr. Clark asked that Mr. Qaisi get with Mr. Kurt Kelly of Code Enforcement.

5.  Ms. Johnnie Thomas came forward and stated to Mr. Hackney that Councilman Wilson does an excellent job checking on District 4; she stated that everyone should help each other out, as we are our brother’s keeper; Ms. Thomas stated that everyone is responsible for making sure that their area in the neighborhood is clean; she said the people on the North side are together and the people on the South side can be together too; she said we may not have what they have but that we are supposed to keep it clean and be grateful; she said that Mr. Wilson should not be singled out for what he doesn’t do, because he does take care of his District.

6.  Ms. Benya Marshal came forward to ask the City and Council to repair the bridge over the canal ditch near Bethel Baptist Church.  She said the bridge is in need of repair and feels it has been put on the back burner for some time.  She asked Ms. Blakes if they had done anything about the bridge; she said she was scared for the children that are walking across the bridge and for cars that are driving across the bridge. Ms. Blakes stated that she has looked into it and that it is on her wish list of things to do in her District to be taken care of.

7.  Mr. William DeGrate spoke about the Chief of Police, Holmes; he said he had spoken with Mayor Mayo about Chief Holmes.  He said some things that occurred when Chief Sleuter was on is when you would read the Free Press, you had people with black eyes, patches of hair knocked out of head; he said since Chief Holmes has been the Chief, some of this has stopped and that he is pleased that it has, but he is concerned about what is going on now with Chief Holmes and believes that the problem now is that the Chief has the wrong people watching his back.  He said when you call 911, the Chief is at home and that he has Supervisors that are not doing their jobs; he said when you call the police they do not come out and that this is not on the Chief; he said he is proud of the Chief; Mr. DeGrate said the officers will stop a man on the street who has a wine bottle and take them to jail, but will not stop a man on a bicycle who is carrying someone’s entire household goods away on a bicycle; he said the police is spending their time on the wrong things.  He said he called the police yesterday and it was an entire hour before they came and then he did not need them anymore.  He asked that the Mayor work with the Chief; he stated that people are retiring from the Police Department because they don’t want the Black man over them; they are moving to the Parish and it is very clear about what is going on in the Police Department.  He said he has not seen anything about a person in the Free Press or Dispatch with patches of hair knocked out and said he was hopeful that the Chief would get himself together and those officers that are not working with him, that he would send them to the dog pound and airport  and get them away, so that he could do a good job.

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

Mr. Eddie Clark
Chairman

Carolus S. Riley
Council Clerk

Jacqueline Benjamin
Council Secretary

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

+ Click To View Comments

Featured news

Back to Top