City councilman announces resignation

Published 9:13 am Friday, August 7, 2015

Near the end of Tuesday’s Bogalusa City Council meeting, District C Councilman Brian McCree caught everybody off guard when he delivered a bombshell during council remarks.

“I just want to thank everybody for coming tonight,” McCree said, “but come January, I’m resigning as councilman. I’ve just had enough.“

McCree declined to be more specific afterward but left open the possibility he would be more forthcoming in the future about his plans.

In business matters, an ordinance authorizing Mayor Wendy Perrette to adopt sign regulation guidelines in order to add them to the Bogalusa City Code was accepted during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.

Bogalusa resident Mark Irvine requested the City Council clarify what signs will be allowed and signs that won’t be allowed under the Charter.

“It is my understanding that non-profits can still put out signs if they obtain the necessary permits,” Irvine said. “This ordinance gets rid of unwanted business signs. From a safety standpoint, this is a good thing.”

Non-profits include churches, chambers of commerce and most festivals. Permits for non-profit organizations are free and can be obtained from the Public Works Department at City Hall. Non-profits must disclose where the sign will be going, and it must not block city rights-of-way.

As for banners for non-profits, they must be removed within 48 hours after the event.

Violation of the ordinance is $25 for a first offense and $50 for a second offense.

“We are working in our sign issues,” Perrette said.

In other business, the council accepted an ordinance to change 422 Superior Ave. from A-3 Residential to B-1 Business to open a pizza business at the location. Little Caesars is scheduled to open at the location. Councilwoman Gloria Kates said franchise owner Russell Rayburn of Wiggins, Miss., expected to employ 40 people. Nobles & Associates of Bogalusa is the contractor. The project is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

An ordinance was accepted to amend Ordinance 2137 of 2009 to provide a procedure to provide for approval of commercial facades within the city.

During the public participation segment, Theresa Keller praised the Bogalusa Fire Department and Chief Richard Moody.

“I want to tell you, the city of Bogalusa, of one of the finest departments, and that’s the Bogalusa Fire Department. They serve Bogalusa according to the needs of Bogalusa. I want to publicly thank them. You call and they are right there. They make you feel good. We appreciate you,” Keller said as her comments drew applause from the audience.

“We try and do what we can for the citizens of Bogalusa,” Moody said.

Councilwoman Sherry Fortenberry lauded other city workers. A recent sudden storm hit near her Van Buren Street home while she attended church nearby at Monroe Street Baptist.

“We do have fantastic workers in our city,” Fortenberry said. “When we had that small storm three blocks from my house, Bogalusa Police Department and Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office patrol cars beat me to my house. Entergy came, and by 7 a.m. the next day, the city crews had a dump truck and a front end loader. I think they all did a fantastic job in a timely manner.”

Perrette said the city is blessed to have dependable employees.

Citizens Fate Ferrell and Barbara Harry complained about conditions of city cemeteries and grounds around City Hall not being maintained.

“A majority of people love Bogalusa. I have good men and women in all departments,” Perrette said. These are not high-paying jobs. Mr. James Hall does a good job at cutting grass. We can’t force people to do things as quickly as you would like them to do things.”

Three ordinances were introduced. The public will have a chance to discuss the ordinances before they are voted on at the next meeting on Aug. 18. These included:

• An ordinance authorizing Perrette to contract with Vantiv for credit card processing. Perrette said by changing processing companies, the city will save a 28-cent processing fee;

• An ordinance to dedicate and change the name of Davis Street Baseball Field to Coach Mike Harrington Baseball Field. A long-time Little League coach, Harrington recently passed away after a battle with cancer; and

• An ordinance authorizing Perrette to contract with Dempsey Parden to fill the city’s need for information technology expertise.