Time has come to clean up or demolish condemned properties

762

Budget amendment allocates funds for Marshal’s office
Carolyn Roy
At its meeting Monday, the City Council introduced an ordinance that will appropriate money for the City Marshal’s office.
Finance Director Clarissa Brown-Smith said the budget amendment of $81,396 will pay for salary, benefits, vehicle, fuel and maintenance for one employee. The office provides City Court security while in session, serves subpoenas and eviction notices and enforces State and City ordinances.
City Marshal Randy Williams said he will be happy to get the extra funding if the ordinance is approved by the council and Mayor.
Also introduced was an ordinance that contracts with Merchant McIntyre & Associates LLC, a firm that helps obtain federal funding. The contract is for one year for a monthly fee of $7,500. The Washington D.C. firm first contracted with the City in May of 2021 and provided strategic guidance through the development and post-submission process that resulted in the City receiving a $17.2 million grant to fund the Natchitoches Safe Street Revitalization Project. The City’s application team included Community Outreach and Grants Manager Nicole Gray and City Engineer Nick Verret.
The introduced ordinances will be up for vote at the council meeting Sept. 12.
The council adopted four resolutions. They are:
•Supports costs of La. Dept. of Veterans Affairs Office with an annual contribution of $10,796. Parish Government contributes $14,395 towards the total expenses of $43,209, the remainder of which is paid by the State. The office has an economic impact of $14,671,000 in compensation and pension benefits for a veteran population of 2,026.
•Authorizes advertising for bids for 500,000 pounds of caustic soda for the water treatment plant. Bids will be opened Sept. 22.
•Authorizes advertising for bids for Keyser Avenue Lift Station. The City has 50 lift stations with most having two pumps. The largest lift station has eight pumps. Bids will be opened Sept. 22.
•Approves the Capital Improvement Plan for Financial Assistance from La. DOTD, Division of Aviation, for the Natchitoches Regional Airport. Jonathan Farmer, engineer with KSA Engineers, said the resolution calls for the City to adopt a five-year capital improvement plan. This is the first step to apply for $1 million in funding. The City gets $150,000 each year for the airport plus an additional $159,000 for airport maintenance and improvements. This year was the first of the five-year plan and work included runway, taxi-way and apron improvements. Past work included drainage, runways, perimeter fencing and LED lighting on runways. Once the new funding is granted, the project will be bid in May with work to start in the fall of next year. Funding is from the Federal Aviation Administration and administered through La. DOTD. The FAA will award more than $2.89 billion to more than 3,000 airports across the nation through 2026.
The council voted on two ordinances. The first was to approve rezoning for Crabs-in-a-Bucket at 1230 Washington. The restaurant applied for B-3 zoning to allow for the sale of low-alcohol consumption on premises.
The council unanimously approved a demolition and condemnation ordinance that was introduced in July.
Planning and Zoning Director Shontrell Roque reported on the properties listed for condemnation and recommended for demolition and progress on each one.
•409 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, owned by Cletus and Tamila Reliford Shields, property has been cleared of burned mobile home
•910 West, owned by Michael and Grant Shields, burned dwelling, no progress, recommended for condemnation
•801 Fourth, Terrel A. Delphin Jr., permit issued and burned dwelling cleaned to foundation
•153 Pierson, owned by Luberta Walker, dwelling boarded and property cleaned
•223 Pierson, owned by Ronnie J. Lewis, beyond repair, recommended for condemnation
•,1539 Stella, owned by Frank Sr. and Eddie Raymond, floor gone, building unstable, recommended for condemnation
•1203 Rusbo, owned by Braxton Rental LLC, roof in terrible condition, electrical line buried in yard, leaking when toilets are flushed, open sewer pipes, hot wires in electrical box, no meaningful progress; open plumbing; Planning and Zoning employees helped relocate some of the tenants as did Homeless Coalition; recommended for condemnation
•729 Salim, owned by Dynise Colbert, considerable storm damage, uninhabitable, recommended for condemnation
The next meeting will be Monday, Sept. 12.
The City will close Sept. 2 for Employee Appreciation Day and Sept. 5 for Labor Day.