Public Works to relocate to Texas Street

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Carolyn Roy | News Editor
The City will buy property on Texas Street for a new public works department headquarters.
At the City Council meeting Monday, the council introduced Ordinance 37 that details a lease-purchase agreement to buy approximately 6 acres at 1608 Texas from Barry Guillet for $520,000. The City will own the property by 2024 after making an initial payment of $210,000; a second payment of $180,000 on the one-year anniversary; and a third payment of $122,000 on the second year anniversary.

THIS ARTICLE PUBLISHED IN THE JUNE 16, 2022, PRINT EDITION. SUBSCRIBE BY CALLING 318-352-3618.

The building has been the location for several tractor sales businesses in the past. The City has long sought a location for the public works department other than the present one at the former Archer Daniels Midland property on Mill Street. When the relocation is complete, the City will send out RFPs seeking to sell that property. Mayor Ronnie Williams Jr. said building a new department would take about $4 million and sees the purchase as a win-win proposition. He envisions the current property becoming an economic corridor that will be complimentary to the Flying Heart Brewery located there.
Also introduced was Ordinance 38 that allows for the issuance of $935,000 in utility revenue bonds in connection with the Clean Water State Revolving Fund. The proceeds will be used to refurbish sewer lift stations on Mill Street and Washington near the Grand Ecore Road. In a past meeting, Director of Utilities Matt Anderson said the lift stations are probably nearing 40 years old and need new pumps, controls, rail systems and lining of the wet well. The city will receive $312,000 in loan forgiveness for the lift station rehabilitation and the remainder will be financed at a very favorable 0.95 percent interest rate.
A similar ordinance was introduced but was replaced by the new one because of language describing the type of bonds. That first ordinance was removed from the agenda.
Ordinance 39 was introduced to provide $1.5 million to be used for street maintenance. The money comes from American Rescue Plan funds received by the City.
The ordinances that were introduced will be voted on at the June 27 meeting.
The Council cast final votes on Ordinance 36 that allows for American Rescue Plan funds to be used to provide utility assistance to residents under certain conditions. It designates $250,000 to assist in stabilizing qualifying households. The funds will be awarded to households as relief towards their utility charges.
Individual awards will range from $100 to $300 and will be based on household size and income. Households with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level will qualify, so a household of three will qualify with an annual income of less than $46,060, while a household of five will qualify with income of less than $64,940.
Recipients can apply for the relief funds and the City will try to give utility assistance to those in greatest need. The City is developing a scale of what amount each family would be eligible for based on the poverty guideline standards.
At a past meeting, Councilman Dale Nielsen said the City’s records of delinquent accounts could serve as a starting point to identify utility customers in need of help.
Councilman Eddie Harrington reiterated that the funds will be for residents who are truly in need and the City will not profit in any way.
The City adopted several resolutions.
No. 49 establishes that the regular meetings of the City Council will be at 5:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays at 716 Second St. Special called meetings will be advertised at least 48 hours before the meetings.
No. 50 establishes that the Planning Commission will meet at 5 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month at 716 Second St.
No. 51 confirms the appointment of Stacy McQueary as clerk of the Council.
No. 52 appoints the firm of Thomas, Cunningham, Broadway and Todtenbier as auditor.
No. 53 confirms Sabine State Bank as the fiscal agent.
No. 54 designates the Natchitoches Times as the official legal journal.
No. 55 authorizes the City to incur debt of $2 million from revenue bonds for rehabilitation of the Texas and Pacific Depot. William R. Boles Jr., senior partner of Boles Shafto of Monroe, said the resolution gives preliminary approval to seek approval from the La. Bond Commission at the July meeting. After the commission approves the bonds, the City will introduce an ordinance to that effect.
The next scheduled City Council meeting will be June 27.
City offices will close Friday, June 17 to observe Junteenth.