Citizens plead for road paving

Published 8:30 am Friday, December 18, 2015

The poor condition of North Roosevelt Street in front of Sweet Beulah Missionary Baptist Church once again brought out a host of church members to Tuesday’s Bogalusa City Council meeting pleading for the road to be improved.

Theresa Keller read a prepared statement. She was at a loss as to why the city could not repair the street after so many months has gone by after a request for repair.

Keller took issue with a recent statement from Bogalusa Mayor Wendy Perrette that only one vehicle passed by on the street one day when a city employee was there to track just how busy the street was.

“I just don’t believe it,” Keller said. “Did this person go to sleep and not watch what was going on?”

Perrette assured Keller and the two other citizens who spoke on the subject that the street is targeted for repair through an intergovernmental agreement with Washington Parish Government.

Through the intergovernmental agreement, Washington Parish government did an overlay of Red Cross Drive near Bogalusa High School at the end of July.

Roosevelt Street resident Derana B. Newton also sought answers to the problem.

“Sister Keller hit the nail right on the head,” she said. “We’ve asked the mayor for clarity. We’ve been told repairing of the street was in the parish’s hands. Then we’ve been told it’s in your hands.”

Perrette answered the concerns during her administrative remarks.

“The street repair on North Roosevelt has been discussed, put on the list and has been budgeted for, but I can’t answer when they will come to do it,” Perrette said. “They tell me when they can come. We’re at their beck and call. It’s like the cable man tells me they’ll be at the house between 8 a.m. and 12, and doesn’t show. Things are not happening as fast as we want it to.”

Regarding a different street, the Rev. Clarence Abram said Okeechobee Avenue also needed addressing.

“We’ve been trying to get streets in Mouton Quarters fixed for years,” Abram said. “We believe we’ve got the oldest church in Bogalusa in White Hall M.B. Church. When things are being discussed about the city, nobody mentions us.”

The church is located at 714 Okeechobee Ave.

“The most heavily trafficked areas are what I’m working on,” Perrette said. “We’ve got a lot of bad streets. It’s not that your street is any less important then those which were asphalted. We made the school street a priority. I inherited these streets and we’re addressing the streets.”

In agenda matters, the Council adopted two ordinances, tabled another and took one off the table.

Ordinances adopted included:

• The City’s Operating Budget and Capital Budget for the 2016 fiscal year;

• Sign Regulation Guidelines.

An ordinance awarding the bid of Air-Pro Heating and Cooling to demolish and remove the condemned building at 218 Alabama Ave. was tabled because of a glitch in paperwork and time constraints.

An ordinance to amend the 2015 budget was taken off the table, per a recommendation by Councilman Teddy Drummond.

An ordinance was introduced authorizing and levying a fee for each service of the local office of the Department of Motor Vehicles in the Dept. of Pubic Safety and Corrections in the amount of $4.50 per transaction, except for the renewal of a license authorizing Perrete to contract with the Dept. of Public Safety. That ordinance will face public participation before being voted on at the next meeting on Jan. 5.

  In a presentation to the council, the Washington Parish Youth Council from ADAPT requested the body to enforce local regulations regarding where tobacco products can be sold. The students requested the council to consider stricter guidelines for stores selling tobacco products.

ADAPT Executive Director is Charlotte Fornea. Students Fallon Turner, Grace Fornea and Abbi Fornea all addressed the council.

In other matters, the council:

• Encouraged participation in the first annual MLK Bogalusa Heart Walk from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Jan. 18, 2016 in Cassidy Park. The event is sponsored by the Robert “Bob” Hicks Foundation and Bogalusa Heart Study.

• Announced the Hicks Foundation is calling on volunteers to assist with materials and supplies to repair the roof and foundation of the Hicks family home for a future civil rights museum. For more information, call the foundation at 985-732-7449 or email Foundation Executive Director Barbara Hicks-Collins at   

• Recognized a new business opening on Columbia Street. ComproTax has a grand opening on Tuesday, Dec. 29 at 404 S. Columbia St. The owner is Dr. Jackie Mayfield. For more information, call 985-516-9886.

• Heard from Council President Sherry Fortenberry, who read a resignation letter from former District D Councilwoman Malinda White. White was recently elected as a state representative from District 75. She was already in Baton Rouge starting her duties.