The most important topic at the Parish Council meeting Monday was the resurfacing of Fish Hatchery Road. The project will be paid for by the Cane River Waterway Commission. Patrick Johnson spoke for Regional Construction that won the bid for the resurfacing. Drainage survey work is complete with drainage mitigation and remediation started April 14 and expected to continue for one month. The notice to proceed, which is the first day that roadwork will begin, will be issued April 26. Contract time is five months.
But that won’t be soon enough for Fish Hatchery Road residents. Randy Chambers said he and other residents want “tire-busting holes” patched now. They have made numerous calls to the highway department only to be told “you’re getting a new road.” The residents have gone so far as to paint circles around the worst holes but the paint washes away and is hard to see at night. Chambers said he was not asking for a smooth road but only that the holes be filled. There is a Good Samaritan policy in which the highway department delivers materials to residents who spread it on the roads, mostly on which they live. The council must approve them on a monthly basis.
Highway Director Johnny Salard told Chambers he could be put on that Good Samaritan list.
Visitors Joe Givens and Joe Osborne said they got tired of hearing “no money” to repair roads and decided to find another solution besides road materials that wash away. They have contacted the company that manufactures Perma-Zyme, a product they say is 13 times stronger than mud and has no negative environmental impact. It can be applied only on dirt roads that are 13 percent clay.
It costs $6,000 per mile as opposed to estimates of other materials at $539,000 per mile. It will support a 90,000-pound log truck after a three-day cure and has no dust. Perm-Zyme offered to set up a demonstration and resurface one-third of a mile, costing Parish Government only the use of rollers and a water truck. They will do a soil analysis and provide supervisors. Should the parish decide to use the product, the company will provide the materials with no cost increase for five years.
The council will move forward with getting the demonstration.
A recurring item on the agenda is introduction of an ordinance allowing parish residents to vote on whether to return to the police jury form of government or stay with the Home Rule Charter. Voting to introduce the ordinance were John Salter, Patsy Ward Hoover, Jim Kilcoyne and Chris Paige. Marty Cheatwood voted no. The ordinance will stay introduced for 30 days with the next vote coming at the May meeting. It will take four votes to put the item on a ballot for an election that would probably be in November. Tax Assessor Tim Page reviewed the options of rolling forward property taxes.
The council has until 2023 to roll forward taxes on the health unit, library, public buildings, exempted municipalities and general alimony. If the council rolls forward those taxes, it will mean an additional $123,131. The total is broken down the following way: health unit $23,043; library, $57,609; public buildings $23,043; exempted municipalities $3,608; and general alimony $$15,827.
The council has already rolled forward the Road District 40 tax. The council wants to know the cash balance of each of those taxing districts before deciding whether to roll forward the taxes. They must decide before the end of September since it must be advertised twice in the legal journal, the Natchitoches Times, with a waiting period of 30 days after the last advertisement. So the council must decide by its May meeting. The council tabled the item.
The council approved the re-appointment of Troy Gardner and Monty Trichel to the Fire District 9 Board and appointment of Aubry Graves to replace the late Wade Ebert on that same board.
The council voted to introduce three additional ordinances.
•Affect zoning change from I-A to B-3 for establishing a gym on 2.52 acres at 1386 on Hwy. 504
•Affect zoning change of B-3 for a restaurant with liquor sales on .94 acres at 1211 Patrick Road
•Levy sales tax of 1 percent as authorized at a special election April 24; for solid waste collection
The council adopted the following ordinances:
•Authorized parish president to affect the donation of the Creston polling place building landowner in exchange for indemnity and hold harmless clause; the building will be donated to Ernest Self, on whose property the building is located. The building is in deplorable condition and another location has been secured as a polling place. Self has made some improvements to the building at no cost to Parish Government.
•Changed personnel manual change deleting verbiage singling out grant writers and making all employees equal. Another change gives parish president authority to appoint acting or interim people to any vacant position.
•Zoning change from I-A to B-3 to establish a gym with restaurant and coffee shop at 10173 Hwy. 120 in Robeline.
The council adopted the following resolutions:
•At no cost, approved design waiver to Clark Road Bridge in Federal Off-System Replacement Bridge Program. The council took the following action on other agenda items:
•Will advertise for RFPs for redistricting for U.S. Census changes.
•Will ask La. Board of Ethics and La. Legislative Auditor for ruling on purchase of front-end loader. •Authorizing cooperative endeavor agreements (CEAs) with the following Good Samaritans for work on roads: Williams & Son Saw and Supply Inc., Calvin Tyler Road; Monty Trichel, Hart Road; Barton Cotton, Central Loop; Allen Beasley, Rachal Camp and Benjamin Point roads; Victor Kay II, Cat Island Road; and Simon Sarpy, Kochinsky Road.
•Enter CEA with Woodell Construction LLC for improvements to Emmanuel Road.
•Enter CEA with Eversull Farms LLC for improvements to Solomon Lane.
•Approved change order for resurfacing streets in Payne Subdivision that had a net decrease of $23,000.
One unsettled item was whether to dissolve the Payne Sewer Board. There is a monthly argument about this item with Paige wanting to keep the board in tact. He said it would give the board an opportunity to seek litigation against TESI, the company that operates the sewer system. Ward-Hoover argued that the council has no dealings with TESI and the board should be dissolved. The board took no action.