Council covers lots of ground

Published 9:08 am Friday, March 22, 2013

The Bogalusa City Council passed a resolution and nearly a dozen ordinances Tuesday and moved forward on a spectrum of items ranging from sewer repairs, cleanups on land and in the Bogue Lusa Creek and improvements at Cassidy Park to a billboard moratorium and the establishment of a transaction fee for an in-city Office of Motor Vehicles facility.

The resolution obligates funds to a Land and Water Conservation Project at Cassidy Park that covers development of multi-purpose sports courts, a fishing pavilion, a fishing pier “and other site improvements.”

The council agreed to obligate the $500,000 cost of the project, which would make it eligible for Land and Water Conservation Fund financial aid of 50 percent of the total. The resolution also includes application for that financial assistance.

Public hearings were held for 11 ordinances, but there were no comments and no council discussion. All were passed unanimously, with Councilman Michael O’Ree not yet in attendance.

The ordinances:

• Authorize the mayor to enter into a contract with MSM Services, for the removal of all debris from 26 sites throughout the city and for asbestos removal.

• Authorize the mayor to enter into a contract between the city and Natural Resources Conservation Service for debris removal from Bogue Lusa Creek.

• Authorize and levy a fee for services and transactions of the local field office of the Office of Motor Vehicles in the amount of $3 each, except for the procurement or renewal of a motor vehicle registration license. The city has agreed to provide a facility, since the state is about to close the existing one just south of Bogalusa, but the state does not fully fund the cost of operations.

• Authorize the mayor to enter into a contract with the low bidder, Tullier Services, for the emergency sewer repair contract #1 of the 2012 Sewer Rehabilitation Program.

• Repeal ordinance 931, which, according to Councilwoman Oneita Graham, concerns part-time employees and contains provisions about “time off and sick leave that they are not really entitled to.”

• Authorize the mayor to enter into a contract with LOUTEX Contractors, for the lease of one building and eight acres of land in the Industrial Park.

• Authorize the mayor to enter into an agreement between the Bogalusa City Jail and Ally Telecom Group, which would provide a fully Web-based VOIP inmate telephone system for the jail.

• Place a moratorium on street name changes and billboards “until further discussion and guidelines are put in place.” The moratorium is effective for 90 days, but the period may be extended if the council deems it necessary.

• Authorize the mayor to enter into a cooperative endeavor agreement with the state to implement a grant under the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery Program through the Comprehensive Resiliency Pilot Program.

• Authorize the mayor to borrow up to $1,990,000 from its fiscal agent, and authorize the mayor and office manager, on behalf of the city, to issue certificates of indebtedness and to execute pledge agreements as security for payment of the indebtedness. The city annually borrows the money it will take in throughout the year at this time.

• Authorize the mayor to borrow funds from the fiscal agent, the First, to defray its operating expenses and meet its obligations.

After the council action, Mayor Charles Mizell praised the wide-reaching movement and said he’d been working for a long time to get a number of the projects, including the sewer work, under way.

He also praised organizers and attendees of the cook-off at Cassidy Park, and thanked the general public for picking up trash and putting debris on the sides of city streets for pick-up.