Mayor alarmed at crime rate, partners with Crime Stoppers

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Carolyn Roy | News Editor

The City will partner with Crime Stoppers of Natchitoches to offer rewards to help solve crimes. At the City Council meeting Monday, the council introduced an ordinance approving a cooperative endeavor agreement that will enable the City to participate with the organization financially. Mayor Ronnie Williams Jr. said he is alarmed by the heinous as well as the small crimes occurring in Natchitoches and hopes Crime Stoppers will be one piece of the effort that will help deter that crime.

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David Peddy spoke for the committee organizing the program and seeking community support. There is no starting date yet. Officers are president Dr. Carmella Parker, vice president Jay Sharplin, secretary Michael Bonnette and Peddy who is treasurer. Other board members are Marvin Blake and Justin Rhodes.

Nicole Gray is director of communications.

Peddy said the committee filed with the Secretary of State, engaged a CPA, is seeking insurance and conducting other organizational duties. The members have consulted with similar organizations in Shreveport and Mansfield and will use their framework. They will use software to administer the program. The committee will meet once a month with the Sheriff’s Office and City Police liaisons that will report the tips.

The district attorney’s office will play an integral part. Peddy said the committee would be reaching out to the community for support and funding. Crime Stoppers will provide rewards up to $2,000 for tips leading to a felony arrest, for felon in possession of a firearm, possession of stolen firearms or any crime of violence as defined in State statutes. The City will reimburse Crime Stoppers for rewards not to exceed a total of $40,000.

According to its website, Crime Stoppers USA is the national organization that creates a network of local programs that work together to prevent and solve crimes in communities and schools across the nation. It is community based.

The council introduced an ordinance to authorize accepting the bid for Christmas lighting supplies from Dean Nida & Associates LLC of Sarasota, Fla., for $55,091. The only other bidder was Christmas Lights Inc., of Edmund, Okla., for $69,058. Another ordinance introduced will allow the City to lease a warehouse at the southern end of the ADM mill on Mill Street to Weyerhaeuser Trus Joist. The manufacturing plant will replace two presses and modernize a third one. The warehouse will be used to store the new equipment from July 1 to Dec. 31. The contract calls for $1,000 per month with an extension on a monthly basis if needed.

The council adopted resolutions.

One was to submit an application to the Delta Regional Authority seeking a grant for sewer renovation of the Keyser Avenue lift station near the proposed nursing home and surrounding area. The City’s share will be about $65,000 with the grant providing $400,000. Another resolution authorized the City to support the La. Dept. of Veterans Affairs office with an annual payment of $10,796. The office has secured $13.7 million in compensation and pension for Natchitoches Parish veterans who number 2,305.

The Council adopted three ordinances with a final vote.

The first was to declare breathing apparatus surplus so they could be donated to Fire District 10. The second resolution adopted more liberal zoning requirements related to businesses that shut down because of COVID-19. The third gave final approval to a cooperative endeavor agreement between the City and CommCare Natchitoches to assist with costs of infrastructure to build a new nursing home facility.