What a mess! Mayor determined to clean up

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By Carolyn Roy, carolyn@natchitochestimes.com

Mayor Lee Posey believes the community can do a better job of cleaning up and asked the City Council to back him in sending a message to those who litter, abandon vehicles and are generally trashy. He remarks came at the City Council Monday. “Until we send a message and fine some people, it won’t stop. Our community can do better than this.” The City’s litter ordinance fines range from $100 for the first offense to $500 for the third offense.

He commended neighborhood volunteer Linda Davis who Posey said picks up litter and trash on Sanford, Dean and Amulet streets. But there’s an abundance of cars on blocks, multiple vehicles in yards with no tags and general litter such as “chicken boxes.” Posey also targeted property owners who don’t mow the grass. Councilman Dale Nielsen said the same lots are overgrown every year. Director of Planning and Zoning Juanita Fowler sends letters to those property owners and gets contractors to mow the lots.

“We become a grass cutting service,” Fowler said. Posey witnessed someone throwing litter from a vehicle and followed it to get the license number. He believes the City needs to be more aggressive in fining those who litter. Posey plans to visit business owners on Keyser Avenue and South Drive about the cleanup. Police Chief Micky Dove says that abandoned vehicles remain a problem because of storage. They are towed to wrecker service yards where they can be reclaimed by the owners. However, they are not always reclaimed. Dove said the owners of abandoned vehicles are often difficult to communicate with but his department reaches out to them to avoid having the vehicles towed.

The Council hopes to have a preliminary garbage contract by August but it probably won’t include recycling. The City is renegotiating its contract with Waste Connections and considering four options. Another potential change is elimination of backdoor pickup that is part of the current contract. There will be a public hearing in the next few weeks to get public input about the new contract. “If the contract stays as it is, it will be very expensive,” Posey said. In other business, the Council introduced a planning and zoning ordinance to rezone 1746 Texas St., from R-1 to B-1 Commercial at the request of Jason Lofton for operation of Milestone Consulting Services. The council voted to lease a hayfield at the end of Laird Fletcher Road to Glenn Byles; and sell 2 acres on Industrial Drive to TSTR Enterprises for $62,700. The property will be used a caviar production facility.

The council approved the following for 2018-19:

•City Council meets the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 5:30 pm. at the Natchitoches Arts Center.

•City Planning Commission meets at 5 p.m. the first Tuesday at Natchitoches Arts Center. Members are Charles Whitehead III, the Rev. Bobby Claiborne, Michael D. Lewis, Rickey McCalister, Jamie Flanagan, Isaac Lewis, Jacob Cooper and Ron Brown.

•Historic District Commission meets at 5 p.m. the first Monday at Natchitoches Arts Center. Members are Jared Dunahoe, Dr. Virginia Crossno, Sharon Gahagan, Dr. Steve Horton, Melissa Robinson and Marion Salter.

•Airport Advisory Commission meets at 5 p.m. the third Monday at Airport Terminal at 450 Wallenberg Dr.

•Waterworks District No. 1 meets at 5:30 p.m. the third Monday at 145 St. Denis St., City Bank.

•Appointed Stacy McQueary clerk of the council •Appointed City attorney Ronald E. Corkern Jr., and assistant City attorneys Daniel T. Murchison Jr., Cloyd Benjamin Jr., Steven D. Crews, J. Chris Guillet and Lisa V. Johnson.

•Auditors are Johnson, Thomas and Cunningham.

•Fiscal agent is MidSouth Bank.

•Official legal journal is The Natchitoches Times

•Claims Administration Service contract with Hammerman and Gainer Inc. for two years with annual premium of $39,660

•Casualty package insurance for general liability for employee benefits, law enforcement, public entity management, auto and physical damage, umbrella and crime with HUB International Gulf South for premium of $441,499

•Cloyd Benjamin Jr. to fill unexpired term of Andrew Vallien on the Industrial Development board

•Mowing and litter pickup agreement with La. DOTD for reimbursement of $29,280 for rights-of-way and shoulders of State highways

•Mayor’s Health and Fitness Council members Michael Moulton, Don Mims, Lynn Stevens, Tom Matuschka, Michael Bridges, Lisa L.Wiggins, Josh Axsom, Monica Llorence, Brian Hicks, Johnny Barnes, Feamula Bradley, Carl I. Walters III and Linda Queen

The Council also approved the following:

•Change order for $287,460 for Regional Construction 2017 Street Rehabilitation Program revising contract total to $1.7 million

•Added three streets to 2017 Street Rehabilitation Program: Dean Street at its intersection with Hwy. 1 Bypass; East Fifth from the end of previous overlay to Salter Street; and St. Maurice Lane from East Fifth to East Sixth.