By Carolyn Roy
There was talk of a tax election at the City Council meeting Monday evening, but don’t get alarmed. The resolution the Council passed was the first step in getting a renewal tax on the ballot March 24, 2018. It will be a 10-year, 10 mill property tax that generates approximately $1.3 million annually. It is referred to as a hazard tax and the money it generates is used for police and fire department salaries, equipment and large items such as a fire truck. The council passed another resolution that asks the La. Bond Commission to begin the process to sell $14 million in bonds to finance the City’s recreation complex. Mayor Lee Posey said the process will not be completed until sometime during the first quarter of 2018.
Harold Foster returned to the City Council after visiting last month in his effort to purchase a hangar at the Natchitoches Regional Airport. Foster lost his bid to buy a hangar last year because he did not own an aircraft which is a requirement for ownership. Foster has apparently resolved issue of dual ownership of the property and Posey said he had been waiting to hear from the airport commission before making a decision.
City Attorney Ronald Corkern said issues of the lease assignment and litigation involving those wanting to sell the hangar were settled. Corkern said his recommendation to the airport commission will be to approve the sale to Foster.
Posey reaffirmed the City’s effort to remove blighted property. Some 13 properties were introduced in a planning and zoning ordinance stating they are unsafe and should be demolished or brought to code. Many of the owners live out of town and have inherited the property that they do not visit regularly. One was burned but the owner said neither the renter nor relatives had notified her of the fire. Owners of the properties on the list have 30 days from Monday to get permits and begin repairs or demolition.
If they show good faith and begin the work, the City will extend the deadline another 30 days as long as the work progresses. Some of the homeowners said they began the renovations only to have vandals break in and steal or destroy supplies. Director of Planning and Zoning Juanita Fowler said most of the complaints about blighted property come from neighbors.
The properties are at 602 Amulet, 13223 Grayson, 1219 Pavie, 1215 Pavie, 1021 Amulet, 210 Paula Lane, 1124 Old Robeline Road, 1342 Dixie, 427 Payne St., 430 Howell, 220, 222 and 226 Carver Alley and 934 Anita.
She told the owners they should apply for permits as soon as possible, preferably the next day.
The council approved another change order for the riverfront project. It is #4 for $148,972. A summary on the change order lists additional work on the north plaza, concrete and brick pavers for the drive in front of the stage, additional code, turf, light fixture base covers, additional railing at restroom, additional seawall cap, wood curb rail at stage, time capsule relocation and additional trash can bases.
Change order #4 raises the cost from $3,855,000 to $4,298,759. According to the resolution other change orders have been for: