Businesses want stop to Columbia speeding

Published 8:15 am Wednesday, February 4, 2015

During the public participation segment at Monday night’s Bogalusa City Council meeting, citizens asked that the police department be put on notice that the citizens strongly desire to have the 25-mile-per-hour speed limit enforced on Columbia Street.

Residents said school buses simply disregard the speed limit on Columbia and make it hazardous to cross the street, even in a crosswalk.

Gayle’s Jewelers owner Bridgette Russell said the speed some people go in front of her business at 406 Columbia is maddening.

“First of all, let me say I’m thrilled with the revitalization of downtown, but the speeding is getting a little crazy,” Russell said. “We need some handicap access parking. School buses are going way too fast. Maybe we need to lower the speed limit or enforce the speed limit. Start policing the speed limit, and word would get out.”

Shelby Crain, who also works on Columbia, said crosswalks seem to be a foreign concept to some drivers.

“Pedestrians are supposed to have the right of way in crosswalks,” Crain said. “But not on Columbia. People blow their horns at people in crosswalks.”

Charlotte Hughes said she is a new property owner on Columbia. She said she was involved in two near-accidents on the street within 60 days.

“With the crosswalk leading to the front door of my business, delivery drivers use it for a loading zone,” Hughes said. “I’ve sat and watched a handicapped man look for a place to park. I have been nearly hit twice. One was a school bus, and the other time when I was in the crosswalk. As a business owner, I’m trying to make it a better place. I’ve seen these 18-wheelers traveling 20 miles an hour above the speed limit. People backing out of parking lots are being treated like they’re the ones in the wrong.”

In the administrative segment, Bogalusa Mayor Wendy Perrette told citizens to let Police Chief Joe Culpepper know your concerns.

“When you see him, bear down on him with your concerns,” Perrette said.

Also Monday, two ordinances regarding the city’s finances were accepted.

The City Council accepted an ordinance employing Adams and Reese of New Orleans as special bond counsels for the city for one year. The firm is to assist the city in municipal bonds and sales tax revenues.

An ordinance authorizing city officials to issue a budgetary loan application to the State Bond Commission for approval of a Revenue Anticipation Note also was approved. The note is not to exceed $1,990,000.

Members of the audience asked the council if such a note was necessary.

“We need money for 2015, so we borrow against that money coming in 2016,” Councilman Doug Ritchie said.

Council President Teddy Drummond also explained the reasoning behind the note.

“It’s just revenue anticipation so the checks don’t bounce,” Drummond said.

“It looks like we could find other ways than raising taxes,” former councilman Thomas Kates said.

Councilwoman Gloria Kates questioned Adams and Reese representative David Wolf about the finer points of the Revenue Anticipation Note.

“The City Council adopted an ordinance that authorizes the city to borrow up to $1,990,000 from its fiscal agent. This money is not for the construction of any public works, but rather will be used to manage short-term cash flow shortfalls that are expected to rise during the current fiscal year,” Wolf said. “The loan will be repaid from revenues that the city will receive later in the fiscal year and must be fully repaid before March 1, 2016. This kind of cash management tool is used by many states and local governments around the country and is not a sign that the city is experiencing financial difficulties.”

Wolf said the loan will assist the city in continuing to provide services.

“By utilizing this short-term loan, the city will be able to continue to provide services throughout the year, even though revenues such as property taxes are not always received at the same time as bills come due,” Wolf said. “Even though the city operates with a balanced budget, there still can arise temporary cash flow shortfalls during the year that this loan will address.”

Finally, Perrette noted that the Robert “Bob” Hicks home on Robert “Bob” Hicks Street has been added to the Registration of Historic Places by the National Parks Office out of Washington, D.C.