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

July 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 Councilman Armstrong’s designee, Rev. Stone Caraway.

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

Dr. Armstrong acknowledged the beautiful July 4th holiday weather and the celebrations and expressed his appreciation of the WWII Veterans monument dedication in honor of Ouachita Parish WWII Veterans. 
 
Mrs. Ezernack welcomed each one present and gave thanks to those who were responsible for the WWII monument memorial as it was well attended.  She thanked the past military and those who are serving today.

Ms. Blakes welcomed each one present.  She asked continued prayers for Mr. Frank DeTiege and his family in the passing of Mrs. Irma DeTiege.  Ms. Blakes asked that Ron Phillips would display in memory of Ms. DeTiege on the airport signage; she said that she would contact Ms. Slacks at the African Museum about displaying the same there.  Ms. Blakes thanked Rev. Ross and his department for offering free swimming lessons at the centers as this has been one of her pet peeves that children are not able to swim and having this service available is appreciated.  Ms. Blakes spoke about her concern of DBE opportunities; she explained that she understands that the bids are received from the prime contractors.  Minorities not having the opportunity to

Mr. Wilson thanked everyone for being present; he thanked the Mayor and Administration for the work done at Lida Benton Park, walking trails look nice; thanked Mr. Truck Johnson and other Public Works employees for his work; he announced the 2nd Annual Soul Sister Health Celebration on July 12, 2014 at the Charles Johnson Park; Mr. Wilson spoke about Ms. DeTiege as an Icon in the community and said she was dear to him; he then read a Sunset Proclamation from him in her honor.   

Mr. Clark echoed his sentiments of what Ms. DeTiege meant to the community and thanked Mr. Wilson for the heartwarming Proclamation in honor of Ms. DeTiege.  He thanked everyone responsible for the metal detectors at City Court as they are all thankful for them.  Mr. Clark thanked the citizens for embracing the Council new television show, "Your City” where businesses and individuals are showcased.  He acknowledged Ms. Johnnie Thomas as being on an episode and saying things that were needed.  Mr. Clark said the show was all about the city and how we can help move it forward and spotlights the community in a positive light.  He thanked the Engineering Department for securing the cave in on Camp Street and how the Administration secured the area and placing an Emergency Ordinance on the Agenda.  He thanked his colleagues for allowing him to serve as Chairman for the last two and said that he has learned  a lot in a leadership capacity and is now ready to give it back to his colleagues and citizens; the Administration came prepared the last two years to deal with issues as Council put information out for the public to have; the public was very respectful and attentive to what Council tried to do; the Council attempted to have all meetings at 6:00 p.m. and  have everyone who attended out expeditiously.

Mayor Mayo had no communication.

ELECT CHAIRMAN AND VICE-CHAIRMAN FOR THE COMING YEAR:

Mr. Clark noted that the next item on the agenda was to elect Chairman and Vice-Chairman for the upcoming year 2014-2015 and he called for nominations for Chairman:

Ms. Blakes offered a motion to nominate Dr. Armstrong as Chairman of the Council and Mr. Clark seconded the motion.  There were no other nominations or comments from the public and the Clerk called the vote, that being – AYES: Council members Ezernack, Wilson, Blakes and Clark; NAYS: None.  ABSTAIN: Dr. Armstrong; Dr. Armstrong was elected to serve as chairman for the coming year.

Mr. Clark then called for nominations for Vice-Chairman:

Mr. Wilson offered a motion to nominate Ms. Blakes as Vice-Chairman of the Council and Mr. Clark seconded the motion.  There were no other nominations or comments from the public and the Clerk called the vote, that being – AYES: Council members Armstrong, Wilson, Clark and Ezernack.  NAYS: None.   ABSTAIN:  Ms. Blakes; Ms. Blakes was elected to serve as Vice-Chairman for the coming year.

Mr. Clark passed the gavel to the newly elected Chairman, Dr. Armstrong and asked that everyone would welcome him as Chairman.

Dr. Armstrong thanked his colleagues for entrusting him with honor of serving as Chairman.  He pledged that Council would fulfill their responsibilities as public servants to serve the citizens and appreciates the trust and comments from everyone.

Upon a motion of Mr. Clark and seconded by Mr. Wilson, the minutes of the Legal and Regular Session of June 24, 2014 were unanimously approved as presented.

Comments:  Ms. Brenda Williams came forward and said she didn’t remember Council voting on Ms. Golden. Mrs. Ezernack said the minutes did reflect the vote and believed that Ms. Jones stepped up after the vote and not before the vote, but did check it in the minutes.  Dr. Armstrong stated that Ms. Golden was official

PRESENTATION:   NONE.

PUBLIC HEARINGS:   NONE.

PROPOSED CONDEMNATIONS:   NONE.

ACCEPTANCE OR REJECTION OF BIDS:

(a) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mrs. Ezernack and unanimously approved to Accept the bid proposal of Badger Meter Inc. of Milwaukee, WI for Water Meters Parts & Supplies Ref.#85-1377 as recommended by the Director of Administration for meeting the specification of this bid proposal. The Vendor meets the specification of this proposal. The funds will be derived from the Parts Account.

Comments:  Ms. Bradley asked for the cost of the project and the balance in the account.  Mr. Barnes said he did not have the amounts but the items would be ordered as needed.  He did not know the amount in the account.  He said the city does not keep inventory of the meters and Ms. Bradley asked if they would let her know when the meters are ordered and Mr. Barnes said he would.

Mr. Wilson asked how long did the batteries last; Mr. Barnes said the batteries last for seven or eight years and depend on if they are in water; he said the major problem is tampering and not the meter itself.  Mr. Wilson asked if the batteries have been lasting; Mr. Barnes said they are in pretty good shape and have had no problem with batteries because they have only had them for a year.

Ms. Blakes asked if there was a fee associated with meter tampering; Mr. Barnes said the fee was $50 for tampering and cost to replace the meter; he said the meters are usually damaged by cutting wires and it automatically tells us that it’s gone and city will go out; also, some people have damaged the meters with hammers and it those cases they are charged with replacing the meter.

(b) Upon a motion by Mrs. Ezernack, seconded by Mr. Clark and unanimously approved to Accept the bid of Ouachita Electric Company of West Monroe, LA for the Switch Gear Project at the Bayou Bartholomew Pump Station Ref. # 86-0093 as recommended by the Director of Administration for meeting the specifications for this bid. The Vendor meets the specification of this bid. Funds for this service will come from the Water Capital Account. (There were no comments from the public).

RESOLUTIONS AND MINUTE ENTRIES:

Department of Administration:

(a) Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Mr. Clark and unanimously approved to Consider an Application by Jonathon & Josh Nicholson dba J & J Nightlife LLC, 201 N. Stanley St., 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, Cert. of Occupy Cleared)  (There were no comments from the public).

(b) Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Mr. Clark and unanimously approved to Consider request from the Purchasing Division of the Administration Department for authorization from the City Council to advertise for a six (6) month supply contract of Work Tools, Boots and Raingear, etc. Funds for these purchases will be derived from the Inventory Account, which has a balance of $100,073.40.

Comments:  Ms. Bradley asked who in Administration would need boots, work tools.  Mr. Barnes said he was Director of Administration and is his responsibility to monitor all purchases as it comes to him for approval and it doesn’t mean that they are going to put them in the Administration; this contract is being approved for Public Works.  Ms. Bradley asked if this had already been approved for the firemen, police and public works; Mr. Barnes said the supplies could be for any departments, public works, trash, zoo anybody like that; Ms. Bradley asked then why do you go back and order for police; Ms. Bradley said if it is for other departments, then why is it called Administration; Mr. Barnes said the Director of Administration is responsible for approving the contracts and that this is his job and this is what he gets paid to do; Ms. Bradley asked how much would it be; Mr. Barnes said when he buys them, he will tell her; Ms. Bradley said sorry; Mr. Barnes said no problem. Mrs. Ezernack said the confusion is the agenda item just for advertising for the bids and not accepting the bids so the cost is not posted because the bids have not been received.

Department of Planning & Urban Development:

(a) Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Mr. Clark and unanimously approved to Adopt  Resolution No. 6267, appointing Dr. LaVargne Gunn-Ford to the Planning Commission of the City of Monroe, and further providing with respect thereto.  (There were no comments from the public).

(b) Upon a motion by Mrs. Ezernack, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6268, reappointing Jeff Hairston to the Board of Adjustment of the City of Monroe, and further providing with respect thereto.  (There were no comments from the public).

Comments:  Ms. Blakes said she noticed that Dr. Ford had an application for the appointment in the council file and asked if this was the procedure for being appointed.  Ms. Poret said it is done to get information on potential commissioner.  Ms. Blakes said an application was not received on Mr. Hairston; Ms. Poret said one was received on him when he originally joined the Board and it is contact information for Ms. Ford; Ms. Blakes asked whose appointment was Mr. Hairston; Ms. Poret said initially it was the late Ben Katz.  Dr. Armstrong stated that Mr. Hairston has been very responsive and endorses his appointment.

Legal Department:  NONE.

Mayor’s Office:

(a) Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Ms. Ezernack and unanimously approved to Adopt  Resolution No. 6269, stating the City of Monroe’s endorsement of Michael Echols Enterprises and their Project #20140899 to participate in the benefits of the Louisiana Restoration Tax Abatement Program.

Comments:  Mr. Clark asked that someone would come forward and explain to the public Item A, since there are nine such items on the agenda. 

Mr. Michael Echols came forward to explain the items on the agenda and stated that he represents two of the companies who are on the agenda.  He explained the benefits as tools that were designed by La. Economic Development to entice people to move back in and restore blighted properties.  It locks the property taxes in for five years for instance if the property is bringing in taxes for $1,000 a year for property taxes; it allows you to recoup some of your investments on that project five years back; this is part of the tax abatement process.  The Enterprise Zone is a job creator tool and gives you some type of tax credit when you bring in jobs to blight or highly distressed areas.

Dr. Vines stated that he had a detailed description of each program and said this was the largest number ever before Council which is an indication that there are a lot of things going on in downtown Monroe.

Ms. Blakes asked Mr. Echols to explain the five new jobs and the $150,000.  He said it is an investment and is sure which building it is and he has invested between a half and a  million dollars in the last eighteen months to restoring some of the old store fronts.  He said Vantage has invested considerably more in their projects; there is another 12.5 million project at the state office building renovation adding 200-400 new jobs. 

Dr. Vines said the total investments for all of the projects are over 12 million dollars and is significant, and believes 185 new jobs; some of the buildings need renovations and won’t know the number of jobs added until renovations are completed and they have tenants.  Mr. Echols said most are already renovated and have tenants; there are new businesses and existing businesses that are relocating to downtown Monroe.

Mr. Clark thanked Mr. Echols for his developments downtown. He asked Dr. Vines if the projects were limited to downtown; he said they were not and in order to receive the benefits of the Enterprise Zone Program the employer must employ 35 per cent of his new hires from the Enterprise Zone and as Ms. Blakes knows includes all of South Monroe.  Mr. Clark asked that the citizens and constituents, particularly in Districts 3,4 and 5 become up to date on the tax incentives which Mr. Echols and the Downtown Economic Development Group is taking advantage of and appreciates Mr. Echols for getting the blighted areas of the community where they need to be.

Mrs. Ezernack asked Dr. Vines if the Restoration Tax Credits was limited to the downtown historic area and Dr. Vines said yes.

Ms. Bradley said she would like to know if there are maps for the zones for example the Economic Development.  Dr. Armstrong said there were maps available and to let everyone know what areas are available and to make it available to the public by posting them.  Dr. Vines said he had maps in his office. 

(b) Upon a motion by Mr. Clark, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Adopt  Resolution No. 6270,  stating the City of Monroe’s endorsement of Michael Echols Enterprises and their Project #20140898 to participate in the benefits of the Louisiana Restoration Tax Abatement Program.  (There were no comments from the public).

(c) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mrs. Ezernack and unanimously approved to Adopt  Resolution No. 6271, stating the City of Monroe’s endorsement of Michael Echols Enterprises and their Project #20121281 to participate in the benefits of the Louisiana Restoration Tax Abatement Program.  (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. 6272,  stating the City of Monroe’s endorsement of Michael Echols Enterprises and their Project #20140897 to participate in the benefits of the Louisiana Restoration Tax Abatement Program. 

(e) Upon a motion by Mr. Clark, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Adopt  Resolution No. 6273, stating the City of Monroe’s endorsement of Monroe Development, LLC
dba Vantage Health Plan, Inc. and their Project #20140904 to participate in the benefits of the Louisiana Restoration Tax Abatement Program.  (There were no comments from the public).

(f) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to Adopt  Resolution No. 6274, stating the City of Monroe’s endorsement of Monroe Development, LLC dba Vantage Health Plan, Inc. and their Project #20140903 to participate in the benefits of the Louisiana Restoration Tax Abatement Program. (There were no comments from the public).

Comments:  Ms. Blakes said the building wasn’t being occupied and asked Mr. Echols if it could be brought up to code for $70,000.  Mr. Echols said it depends upon the address and that there are four or five vacant buildings in the 500 hundred block of DeSiard that he owns and is investing 75$ plus depending on the building and the issues.  She was referring to Item (d), Project #20140897.

(g) Upon a motion by Mrs. Ezernack, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Adopt  Resolution No. 6275, stating the City of Monroe’s endorsement of Firefly Lane, LLC Project #20140882 to participate in the benefits of the Louisiana Enterprise Zone Program and further providing with respect thereto.  

Comments:  Ms. Bradley said that she could not find any information on the Firefly Lane and the address for this is 110 Hall, but she didn’t find a 110 Hall.  Ms. Bradley said she spoke with Mrs. Ezernack before who stated they were two different things;  Ms. Bradley again stated she wanted to know something about Firefly Lane and couldn’t find anything on it at the Secretary of State;  she asked if we could have addresses in the future.

Mr. Echols stated that they are listed as a company on the Secretary State and a tenant who rented the building; he applied for Louisiana Restoration Tax Abatement and the Tenant applied for Louisiana Enterprise Zone Worker Tax Credits and this is the difference and why there were two different type applications for the same address. 

(h) Upon a motion by Mr. Wilson, seconded by Mrs. Ezernack and unanimously approved to Adopt  Resolution No. 6276, stating the City of Monroe’s endorsement of Monroe Development, LLC dba Vantage Health Plan, Inc., Project #20140903, to participate in the benefits of the Louisiana Enterprise Zone Program and further providing with respect thereto.

Comments:  Ms. Blakes asked if this item was the same as item F.  Mr. Echols stated Item F was Tax Abatement and Item H was Enterprise Zone.  Dr. Vines said the Enterprise Zone is the record on the facility that will create jobs.  Mr. Echols said they are two different things and it can get confusing, but one is to lock in property taxes and the other is to for incentives that the State provides for hiring new employees.

Mr. Hackney said it would be appreciated if the items had addresses to each item; to see if the properties are overlapping each other;

(i) Upon a motion by Ms. Blakes, seconded by Mr. Clark and unanimously approved to Adopt  Resolution No. 6277, stating the City of Monroe’s endorsement of Monroe Development, LLC dba Vantage Health Plan, Inc., Project #20140904, to participate in the benefits of the Louisiana Enterprise Zone Program and further providing with respect thereto.    (There were no comments from the public).

Department of Public Works:

(a) Upon a motion by Mrs. Ezernack, seconded by Mr. Wilson and approved  voting yes: Mr. Clark, Dr. Armstrong, Mrs. Ezernack and Mr. Wilson; voting no: Ms. Blakes; to Adopt  Resolution No. 6277,  authorizing an agreement by and between the City of Monroe and the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development for funds under the Job Access Reverse Commute Program and further providing with respect thereto.

Comments:  Ms. Bradley said she did some investigation on this item and asked if this was transportation for individuals on welfare who have jobs.  Mr. Keenan said the answer was yes and it is also for anybody who is on the route and need a ride back and it is not for free.  Mr. Keenan explained that the city runs night service and are allowed to ride and the riders pay for fare; the Federal government pays fifty percent for operating this service and it is the whole system not just this night service.
Ms. Bradley asked how this being enforced was and if there was a check and balance to see if they were on welfare; Mr. Janway said anybody can ride, they don’t have to be on welfare, but this grant funds the night service.  Ms. Bradley said she read that they were to be on welfare and low income and they would need to be welfare to jobs and asked if there were rules setup to go by.

Mr. Clark commented to ask his colleagues to support this because if we can help people get to work in the city of Monroe, then he is all for it.  He said even if it was for public assistance or welfare and they were going to work he would still ask for support; He said as Mr. Janway and others have stated that this is not for those on welfare, he wished it was around when he was coming up and his mother started out on welfare then they would have probably taken it and is asking that his colleagues support this resolution that helps folks get to work.

Ms. Blakes commented to Mr. Clark that she has no problem supporting this item; the problem that she has is this is a Federal grant and the understanding that she has is as long as First Transit does not have a contract and they are overseeing, that we cannot accept this grant. 

Ms. Summersgill said to Ms. Blakes that she was not correct; Ms. Summersgill stated that what Ms. Blakes was talking about goes back to the issue before and any funding from the Federal Government cannot go towards paying First Transit; the city of Monroe other funding,  not the Federal funding go in to the operations of the transit system and as long as the Federal Funds are not being used to pay for First Transit then other funds can be used and it doesn’t have anything to do with First Transit not having a long term contract, nor the fact  it certain services not being contracted but done on a month to month basis and this is what’s happening with First Transit and Federal funds have nothing to do with who is running the transit department is not being paid with the Federal Funds which they are not. 

Ms. Blakes said so we are going on record saying that First Transit can oversee the project; Ms. Summersgill said yes; Mr. Barnes and Ms. Summersgill said it is state funds, but Federal Grant.

Council:   NONE.

Department of Community Affairs:   NONE.

Police Department:

(a) Upon a motion by Mrs. Ezernack, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Consider request from the Monroe Police Department for City Council approval to renew a
one (1) year contract of Uniforms. The vendor is Guidry’s Uniform of Lafayette, LA who has
agreed to renew the contract for one year, with terms and conditions to remain the same. The
expiration date being 09/14/2015 and capped at $100,000.00, funds for these purchases will be
derived from the Uniform Account.

Comments:  Ms. Bradley commented that this request was capped at $100,000 and asked if it could be less and will MPD come back and let us know the amount since this is only a request only.  Chief Holmes said he can provide it for him at the end of the year and uniforms are ordered on an as needed basis and doesn’t know how many they will need.

Fire Department:   NONE.

Engineering Services:

(a) Upon a motion by Mr. Clark, seconded by Mrs. Ezernack and approved with AYES: Mr. Clark, Dr. Armstrong, Mr. Wilson, Mrs. Ezernack  NAYES:  None;    ABSTAIN:  Ms. Blakes;  to Consider request to authorize the Purchasing Manager to advertise for bids on Basin MR-04/05/07(a)2 Rehabilitation Project. The estimated cost of this project is $4,842,000.00. (There were no comments from the public).

Comments:  Ms. Ezernack asked Ms. Golden to explain why the item was back on the Agenda.  Ms. Golden said it was back on the Agenda because of a lack of clarity in the minutes as it related to the adoptive actions during the previous Council meeting and wanted to bring it back to Council to make sure that they do have the authority to advertise for the project.

Ms. Blakes asked if the project had anything to do with South 1st Street; Ms. Golden replied yes; Ms. Ezernack stated that it was seconded by her .

(b) Upon a motion by Mrs. Ezernack, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Adopt Resolution No. 6279,  accepting the bid of Siemens Industry, Inc. of Jackson, MS, in the amount of $399,405.00 for the Maintenance Service Agreement for the HVAC Equipment for the Monroe Civic and Convention Center, and further authorizing James E. Mayo, Mayor, to enter into and execute a contract for said work.

Comments:  Ms. Bradley asked of the chillers for the civic center $399,405 and if this was all that would be paid.  Mr. Holland explained that this is a five year contract at $399,405 per year.  Ms. Golden corrected and said the $399,405 is not per year but it is the total of the five years and it is about $79,000 per year.  Ms. Bradley asked if this is for their service and do we have to pay for labor or pay extra; Ms. Golden said it is her understanding that it is turnkey and Ms. Bradley asked if we don’t need them do they still get paid the amount; Ms. Golden said they were coming in to do the preventative maintenance, the regular servicing and the emergency calls and it is for emergency and the regular, Community has one dollar amount in their budget that takes care of their operating expenses for air for the entire civic center; this is preventative maintenance and any call outs for emergencies and since it is a revenue producing center you want to be sure the ac is working.  Ms. Bradley said didn’t we just get new chillers; Ms. Golden said it is for preventative maintenance and call outs and are paid quarterly the amount.

Mr. Clark asked if there was a difference in the price from what he is showing Ms. Golden; Ms. Golden said what is being looked at is that the annual amount is paid on a quarterly basis. 

(c) Upon a motion by Mrs. Ezernack, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to  Consider request to authorize the Purchasing Manager to advertise for bids on the Airport Runway Safety Area Drainage Project. The estimated cost of this project is $311,560.78.  (There were no comments from the public).

Comments:  Ms. Blakes asked are DBE able to put in a bid.  Mr. Phillips said there is a three percent goal for the DBE for this project and before the project proceeds the DBE is checked to see if they are qualified DBE.  Ms. Blakes said she understands that but there has been a problem when contractors pick up the bid packets then it is awarded to someone who is not on the list and how are they going to give a bid to someone who is not on the list.  Mr. Phillips said there was a list produced by the state that shows all of the DBE;s that are certified and the contractors has a list to try and find certified DBE and a good faith effort to try and identify and select a DBE.  Ms. Blakes said gave a scenario in that there is a qualified DBE who wants to put in a bid and how is this done; Mr. Phillips said the DBE bids on the project with the contractor and the contractor selects the DBE based upon the lowest bid for that project; Ms. Blakes said this is how it supposed to work and Mr. Phillips agreed; Ms. Blakes said it has not worked this way in the past.  Mr. Phillips stated with the Airport projects he does know that the Airport goes back and make sure the contractor performs a good faith effort and they track the good faith effort. 

Ms. Summersgill commented that she thinks what she has to say will help her understand and continued by saying that just because somebody may be in an area that is defined as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, they have to be certified by the State and must meet certain requirements and if they are not on the list and they are just saying hey, I’m a DBE because I am a woman or a certain race or ethnicity, this does not get them in to bid on this project, they must be certified through the state.  Ms. Blakes said she understands this, but the problem she has is when they go to the contractor and he gives them the list of the contractors who are bidding on the project and they give them their information and then there is someone who is not on the list; the person is out of business because the job has been given to someone who is not on the list, because they can’t give the person their information.  Ms. Summersgill gave an example to get clarity to Ms. Blakes’ concern and said for example there are four contractors who pick up a packet to bid on it and know what the DBE goals are and have access to the state list and there is a reporting form that they have to do to the city about how they go out to people on the list and this is why the list is so important and it doesn’t mean a DBE  on the list bids twice as high as a non DBE the contractor is not required to go up.  Ms. Blakes said she understands and  explained that you have the  DBE contractor that is on the list and then there is a contractor that put in a bid for the work and then there is another contractor that is not on the list that has been awarded the contract.  Ms. Summersgill said he could be on another list, i.e.,. the Fair share List from Shreveport; there are other lists from throughout the State, there are other programs, New Orleans, Shreveport, Baton Rouge and they have to be certified through one of the other lists and it maybe that Ms. Blakes is looking at one list and the people come from another list and the contractors has to supply all that information to city and the committee to see if they did a good faith effort to see if they got one of the persons from one of the lists.

Mr. Holland commented that the DBE contractors must give competitive bids also; he said Ms. Mabel Potts of Columbia is a DBE and a main distributor and he often calls her to see if she bided for the job and turn  in a price; she bided on Tower Armand and her portion was 1.5 million she qualified through a supplier DBE and the guys who bid are not competitive and it is an open market. Ms. Blakes said she understands but wants to make sure that they get a fair share.  Mr. Holland said he follows through and makes contact himself and always checks with them.  He said they have several projects now and are trying to get contractors to contact local DBE’s.

Mr. Wilson asked if the DBE goals were being met; Mr. Holland said they try to meet and exceed the goals and the Tower Armand goal was six percent and it was exceeded. 

Mr. Wilson said to Ms. Golden that she mentioned she would be chairing the committee and asked had she started.  Ms. Golden said she would be meeting with a young lady to help her with her schooling to help her be effective;  Ms. Golden said part of the way the DBE tend not to work is that they make business go out of the community and to be able to get a DBE and that she is interested in finding DBE’s  and helping them become not DBE, but make them become full blown where they don’t need the help anymore; to grow the economy this way. 

Mr. Wilson asked once the committee is organized, if she would provide Council with a list; she said yes. 

(d) Upon a motion by Mrs. Ezernack, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Adopt  Resolution No. 6280, authorizing James E. Mayo, Mayor, to enter into and execute a contract with Ardaman & Associates, Inc. for Testing Services for the new ARFF Fire Station at MLU, and further providing with respect thereto.

Comments:  Ms. Bradley asked if this was the same company hired to do testing before on the runway or different; Mr. Holland said the same company; Mr. Holland said the price is done per test and can’t give a price and the test is done on foundation, concrete to meet state requirements and done as the job progresses.

(e) Upon a motion by Mrs. Ezernack, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to Adopt  Resolution No. 6281, authorizing James E. Mayo, Mayor, to enter into and execute a contract with Burns & McDonnell Engineering Co. Inc., for Engineering Services to prepare the preliminary design for 6 to 8 MGD of additional Water Treatment Plant (WTP) capacity adjacent to the existing WTP to treat water from the Ouachita River and Bayou Desiard River and convey into the existing WTP clearwells, and further providing with respect thereto. (There were no comments from the public).

INTRODUCTION OF RESOLUTIONS & ORDINANCES:

(a) Upon a motion by Mr. Clark, seconded by Mr. Wilson and unanimously approved to Introduce an Ordinance adopting the authorized Millage Rates(s) and providing for the Levying of Special and General Taxes for the City of Monroe for the year 2014. (Admin.)

Comments:  Mr. Hackney asked if the millages would go up or go down.  Mr. Barnes said they would be exactly the same as they were the last three years.

Ms. Blakes asked for clarification if the millage needed to be voted on by the public; Mr. Barnes said the tax millage rates are voted on every ten years for ten year assessments and millages have to be set every year based on the money coming in, it fluctuates with the economy going up and down; could increase if we want to but doesn’t need to.

Mrs. Ezernack stated the Clerk mentioned that it needed to lie over for thirty days; the clerk Mrs. Riley said no more than sixty days.  Mr. Barnes said that the law that Mrs. Ezernack and the Clerk were referring to has been changed and effective August 1st,  you don’t have to lay it over if you didn’t change the rate, but because it is being introduced now and it was based upon last year’s ruling, we will have to lay it over for thirty days and reason it is been so early.

(b) Upon a motion by Mr. Clark, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Introduce an Ordinance rescinding Ordinance # 11,382 Entitled "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. (P&Z)  (There were no comments from the public).

(c) Upon a motion by Mr. Clark, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Introduce an Ordinance 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 – HCI Limited Partnership & Scott Equipment Sales LLC - (P&Z)  (There were no comments from the public).

(d) Upon a motion by Mr. Clark, seconded by Ms. Blakes and unanimously approved to Introduce an Ordinance accepting the donation of a parcel of real estate to the City of Monroe from Ouachita Parish Police Jury in connection with FP&C Project No. 50-MJ6-028-02 (US 165 Bypass to Vine Street), and further providing with respect thereto. (Legal)   (There were no comments from the public).

RESOLUTIONS AND ORDINANCES FOR SECOND READING AND FINAL ADOPTION:

(a) Ordinance No. 11,483,  was offered for final adoption by Mr. Clark and on his motion seconded by Ms. Blakes was unanimously approved and adopted amending the Zoning Map for the City of Monroe,
Louisiana 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)
               
The Chairman opened the Public Hearing and seeing no one come forward the Hearing was declared closed.

(b) Ordinance No. 11,484,  was offered for final adoption by Ms. Blakes and on her motion seconded by Mr. Wilson was unanimously approved and adopted amending the Zoning Map for the City of Monroe,
Louisiana 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)

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

(c) Ordinance No. 11,485, was offered for final adoption by Mrs. Ezernack and on her motion seconded by Mr. Clark was unanimously approved and adopted amending the Zoning Map for the City of Monroe, Louisiana to rezone a total of 93.96 acres (more or less) tracts of land located in Ouachita Parish – APPLICANT – City of Monroe- (P&Z)

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

(d) Ordinance No. 11,486,  was offered for final adoption by Mr. Clark and on his motion seconded by Ms. Blakes was unanimously approved to Adopt an Emergency Ordinance declaring the collapse of the street and sewer main at approximately 825 Camp Street an emergency in need of immediate repairs and further providing with respect thereto. (Public Wks.)

Dr. Armstrong asked for the cost of the project; Mr. Westrom said he did not know of the estimate, there was another collapse today in small section and will have done in two days and will keep Mr. Clark advised.

Mr. Wilson asked Mr. Westrom what was the timeframe for the South 1st project; Mr. Westrom said it was approved for bid advertisement tonight and Ms. Golden said thirty days for advertisement and will be another thirty days before it is awarded; that will be at front end of project provided the easements are donated and have two outstanding; got in the project as an add alternate and if the donations aren’t received then it won’t have to be rebidded.

Mr. Wilson asked about the Georgia Street Pump Station and Ms. Golden said she sent it to his email today.

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

(e) Ordinance No. 11,487,  was offered for final adoption by Mrs. Ezernack and on her motion seconded by Ms. Blakes was unanimously approved to Adopt an Emergency Ordinance declaring the condition of the Primary Clarifier # 3 at the WPCC to be an emergency necessitating immediate repairs and further providing with respect thereto. (Public Wks.)

Comments:  Mr. Westrom said it is a collapse at the primary clarifier and is estimated to be about $62,000 to repair.

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

CITIZENS PARTICIPATION:

1. Mr. Devon Hall a summer employee with the city complained that as an employee he was denied riding the bus for free during the summer.  He said it was a city policy that all summer employees ride for free and he was denied.

2.  Ms. Earlene Bryant  said South Monroe continues to have problems with overgrown grass on vacant lots and in ditches.  Ms. Bryant said she doesn’t know if it is a shortage of manpower or equipment and if the city can give the sorority $15,000 for their event last year, the city can buy equipment.  She said a lady she saw in the grocery store is having the same problem in her neighborhood in Ms. Blakes’ District on Curry Street. 

3.  Ms. Marilyn Denoux came forward to ask if there was a law or ordinance against lawn services blowing the grass and leaves in the street.  Mr. Westrom said there was an Ordinance that prohibits blowing grass which would end up in the storm drain and it is enforced by Code Enforcement.  Ms. Robinson with Code Enforcement stated that there was an Ordinance prohibiting the blowing of grass into the streets and if anyone sees this act in progress to contact Code Enforcement and the officers will come out and stop the violator.

4.  Mr. Wayne Hackney came forward and stated that he has been trying a long time to get Council to submit an Ordinance for employees to come forward and take part in City Government.

There being no further business to come before the council, the meeting was adjourned at 7:36 p.m., upon motion of Mr. Clark and seconded by Mr. Wilson.

Dr. Raymond Armstrong
Chairman

Carolus S. Riley
Council Clerk

Jacqueline Benjamin-Allen
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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