Permit fees could increase
Carolyn Roy | News Editor
There were no controversial issues at the City Council meeting Monday when Councilperson-at-Large Betty Sawyer-Smith conducted business in the absence of Mayor Ronnie Williams Jr. The council adopted a resolution approving a temporary lease with the La. Dept. of Hospitals (LDH) to conduct a mobile clinic for COVID antibody infusions in the parking lot of Troy Mayeaux Baseball Field in East Natchitoches. It is one of 13 monoclonal antibody therapy treatment sites in the State run by LDH.
The 10-bed temporary clinic was established by Acadian Ambulance Service and is manned by nurses and nurse practitioners. It is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., daily through Dec. 31. The treatment takes a total of two hours with the infusion taking about 30 minutes with the goal of keeping patients out of the hospital. Patients must be referred by a physician.
An ordinance was introduced addressing the permitting fee structure for new construction, alteration, repair and remodeling. Planning and Zoning Director Shontrell Roque and City Attorney Alex Washington said the fees will get a much-needed update in the months to come. Roque said development fees have not been updated since 1989 and gave an example of inspection fees compared to surrounding cities. Inspection fees that are $10 in the City are from $50-100 in cities such as Shreveport, Alexandria and Ruston. Washington said the outdated fee structure was a disservice to the City not having been amended since 1989.
Another ordinance introduced was one that will allow Paul Lohr to expand Paul’s Party Boat tour boat business during November and December. Lohr will add a pontoon boat in addition to the Cane River Queen for tourists wanting to see the Christmas lights. It will be operated by a certified captain and be insured. Lohr said several residents who live along Cane River erected outdoor lighting displays last year that added to the river tours.
Director of Finance Debbie Miley announced she will retire in two weeks. She thanked the council for the opportunity to serve the City for the last two years. No replacement had been named as of Monday.
The council conducted the following business:
•Adopted a planning and zoning recommendation approving an application from James W. Poche to rezone 223 Scarborough Ave., to B-2 Special Exception to operate a collision shop
•Awarded the bid for a forklift/telehandler for the purchasing warehouse to Scott Equipment for $116,000; Director of Purchasing Edd Lee said the forklift will replace one that is 15 years old and will be used to load heavy items such as transformers and load and unload trucks; the old one will be used as a backup and in the Community Development department.
•Awarded the bid for a 47-foot sheave height digger truck for the utility department to Lonestar Truck Group $234,502
•Awarded the bid for pulse closing transfer switches to Irby Utilities for $82,084; switches will facilitate automatic transfer of power in a matter of six seconds at Natchitoches Regional Medical Center.
•Awarded property insurance coverage to Risk Services of Louisiana and Cunningham Agency property for $183,917; the premium is an increase of 20 percent over last year because of industry-wide increases because of the snow storm and hurricanes last year.
Police Chief Nikeo Collins said the City will conduct National Night Out events Oct. 5 to allow law enforcement to establish relationships with the public. The events will be at Ross Williams Park from 6-9 p.m., and at the MLK Recreation and Community Center from 5-7 p.m.
Fire Chief John Wynn accepted a proclamation naming Fire Prevention Week Oct. 3-9. The theme is “Learn the Sound of Fire Safety.” Three beeps from a smoke detector signals new batteries are needed and a steady beep means “get out.” There will be a reception and demonstrations from 5:30-8 p.m. Oct. 7 at the La. Technical College.
Director of Public Works Donald Forrest Sr. asked that citizens keep the City clean of debris and litter since there are no inmates to work trash details and there are fewer employees than in the past. “We need help,” Forrest said. “There’s a lot of litter in the City.”
Councilman Eddie Harrington said trash and litter affect drainage and Councilman Dale Nielsen said the grass clippings in the streets also affect drainage.