Councilwoman takes a swipe at former mayor

Sylvia Morrow

Morrow believes annexation will dilute minority vote in her district

By Carolyn Roy, News Editor

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More details about the proposed annexation of an area on Sibley Lake emerged at the City Council meeting Monday and Councilwoman Sylvia Morrow had some not-so-kind words about former mayor Wayne McCullen. Morrow believes McCullen is the person who obtained the names of 112 people on a petition seeking to be annexed into the City.

“Why won’t Wayne come down here and be a man. He’s hiding, he won’t come,” Morrow said. She believes adding the registered voters in the area along Monroe Drive will dilute the minority voting strength since part of the area will be in her district. The other will be in District 4 represented by Lawrence Batiste. Morrow also advocates for annexing Payne Subdivision that is mostly minority.

Mayor Lee Posey said that if Monroe Drive and the feeder streets were annexed, the City would build a new road from the highway to the property owned by Carrie Lou Taylor, plus new feeder roads. He said Monday the total cost would be “more like $400,000.” Morrow said there were 20 streets in her district that needed overlays.

Mayor Lee Posey

She said Posey wanted to go to another area and “give them the world” rather than treating other areas fairly. As for other details on the annexation, Posey said residents around the lake incurred expenses when the EPA mandated them to install new sewer systems in 2010. He said the City Council could not force residents in that area to spend more money in addition to the previous expenses that were mandated.

“It would be a bad investment for the city to do that,” Posey said in reference to installing sewer lines without having a certain percentage of customers ready to utilize the service. “That is something that would have to be discussed with the Council. We would have to run the lines regardless of whether they wanted the service or not,” he said in reference to opting out of sewer service. According to the annexation ordinance introduced at the Oct. 14 meeting that will be voted on at the Nov. 25 meeting, Tax Assessor Dollie Mahoney was required to certify that the petitioners represent a majority of registered voters, a majority of resident property owners and 25 percent in value of the property of the resident property owners who want to be annexed.

According to Mahoney, there are 163 property owners within the proposed area with an assessed value of $1,771,960. According to information from Registrar of Voters Kathrin Holden, there are 160 registered voters.

There were 112 names on the petition presented to the City favoring annexation. Of those 112, only 87 reside within the proposed annexation area. Mahoney said she used the names on the petition to determine how many of them actually lived in the area. Forty-six of the petitioners own and live on property proposed for annexation. In other business, there was a final vote for the City to acquire the Eagle Distributing Co., for $400,000.

Posey explained the ordinance since he said there was misinformation about the purchase. It is part of what he said was a package deal in which the National Park Service will move its offices from Rapides Drive to the building that will also be used as a storage area for historical artifacts. Within 10 years, the rent on the building will repay the initial expense and the City could realize revenue.

The purchase of the building is part of the plan for the Park Service to revitalize the old train depot for an African American museum. In other business, the City Council authorized a one-time salary supplement to City employees; $500 to regular full-time employees and $250 to regular part-time employees.

Supplements are paid from a surplus in the worker’s compensation fund.

•Sold property on Salter Street to James Ross Davis for $31,000. It was once a City park that was a memorial to the late sons of former Councilman Jack McCain Jr. The park is under utilized and McCain agreed to move the plaque dedicated to his sons to another park.

•Awarded liquid chlorine bid to DPC Enterprises for $796 per ton

•Awarded bid for $180,180 to Delta Specialty Contractors LLC for a new fence and repairs to existing fence to keep animals, primarily deer, off the runway

•Approved pay schedule for second year of $55,000 to Natchitoches Community Alliance Foundation Inc., for City’s part of payment to economic developer

The next City Council meeting will be Tuesday, Nov. 12.