Council approves grant application

Published 8:40 am Friday, July 18, 2014

The Bogalusa City Council unanimously approved a resolution to allow the city to apply for a Louisiana Housing Corp. repair grant at Tuesday’s regular meeting.

Project Manager Melvin Keith presented the resolution to the council. The federal grant is for repairs of a certain number of homes that were damaged during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

“This is a grant that goes up to $1 million,” Keith said. “It provides a list of qualifying people. This is a resolution for the city of Bogalusa. This is our opportunity to help our poor residents.”

According to the grant, the program can only provide home repair assistance to homeowners who live in their homes, have legal ownership of the home, have storm-related damage to the home and who are considered low to moderate income. Mobile homes, house trailers and rental units are not eligible to receive assistance.

Residents who have questions can contact Keith at 732-6245 or 241-1653.

In other action, Keith presented a $100 donation to Bogalusa Fire Chief Richard Moody for fire prevention programs for city schools.

“We appreciate all the people participating in the program,” Moody said.

In other business, the council:

Also, the council heard retired Bogalusa Public Works employee Steve LaCour’s request for the department’s employees to be brought into the city’s retirement system like the police and fire departments.

“We have always said Public Works is as important as the police and fire departments,” Mayor Charles Mizell said. “(Public Works) didn’t become unfunded by this administration. It’s time we made some adjustments. Our reserves are depleted, and mandates are up.”

Mizell said the problem is a budget item.

“We do choose how much money we can place in the budget,” Mizell said. “There must be some changes in the (city’s) constitution in the future. Retirements are bankrupting cities all over the United States. I do feel good about we’re going to make the adjustments that are necessary.”

Councilwomen Oneita Graham told LaCour the body was on the department’s side.

“We want you to know Public Works is important to us,” Graham said. “As far as buying into the state system, the plan was for one section at a time. We are working on it but doing what we can. We’re paying more into it. You are not about to lose your retirement check. Have a little faith in us.”

Lastly, Councilman Teddy Drummond complained about littering in the city. He asked anyone who spotted litterbugs to call 1-800-548-7284.