City can’t afford another economic shutdown


By Carolyn Roy,

Mayor Lee Posey challenged the public to “do the right thing” by wearing masks, washing their hands and taking other steps to curtail a resurgence of COVID-19 Monday at the City Council meeting. “We can’t afford for the economy to be shut down again,” he said in talking about the rise in the number of virus cases and Gov. John Bel Edwards not moving the state into the third phase of quarantine.

In Natchitoches Parish as of June 23 at noon, there were 193 cases of Covid-19 reported and the death toll has climbed to 14. Since the onset of the pandemic, 300 tests were performed by the state lab and 2,864 by commercial testing sites.

The council will consider rolling up property tax millage. The estimated amount of property tax revenues to be collected is $2.3 million and the amount of increase over last year is $70,604. The council awarded the bid for renovations at 720 Sixth St., to low bidder DSW Construction with a base bid of $617,979.

The City will renovate the Eagle Distributing Co., building that the National Park Service will use for artifacts storage and two office spaces. The park service will lease the building from the City and pay back the renovation costs over the next 12 to 15 years. After that, the rent will be revenue for the City. The second phase will be renovation of the depot into an African American cultural museum and park service office.

The other bids were from:

•Pat Williams Construction, $722,000

•Skip Converse Inc., $740,000

•Martin Metal Construction, $749,850

There were three affirmative votes for Redolpho Vargas to rezone 115 South Dr., for El Nopal restaurant to relocate and sell beverages of high and low alcoholic content for consumption on premises; to lease public ground and airspace to build an outdoor dining area at Almost Home restaurant; and to guarantee that the city is not required to use any of its general sales tax revenues to support the Hobby Lobby project.

The council passed the following resolutions:

•Adopted bicycle and pedestrian plan and feasibility study developed by the Rapides Area Planning Commission with hopes it will be implemented in next five-10 years.

•Executing certificate of substantial completion with Regional Construction for La 6 J-turn lane at Parc Natchitoches

•Maintenance agreement with La. DOTD mowing and litter pickup

•Adopt policies for compliance with La. Community Development Block Grant Program

•Execute grant agreement with Rapides Foundation for 2020 Healthy Behaviors Program for Ready, Set, Go! The next meeting will be Monday, July 13. City offices will close Friday, July 3 for the Fourth of July holiday weekend.