Documenter: Carl M. Ambrose, Jr.
October 8, 2022
Lake Charles City Council Chambers 5:30 PM
The city council meeting focused on chair appointments, with some decisions made on hurricane recovery plans.
After arriving a few minutes early to the chambers, I found the atmosphere light and pleasant as people exchanged pleasantries. Judge Guy Bradberry, a candidate for the Court of Appeals, shook hands, passed out campaign literature, and saw old acquaintances.
The meeting was called to order by John Ieyoub, the council president, on time. The other council members included Ronnie Harvey, Jr., Craig Marks, Luthertha August, and Vice President Mark Eckard. In addition, council members Rodney Geyen and Stuart Weatherford arrived before roll call, along with the mayor, Nic Hunter. The crowd was small and comprised mostly of members of the city’s various departments.
Policies and Decisions
Mr. Ieyoub motioned to accept Minutes from the previous meeting, which was approved 7-0. In addition, Mr. Ieyoub motioned for a postponement of an item on the agenda with no objections.
Before any more business was brought up, Ieyoub made a brief statement concerning the opportunities to hear from candidates running in local elections.
“It is a point of personal privilege, for myself, we typically allow candidates that are running for various positions in the area, anytime we are approached for someone to introduce themselves, we welcome that. Judge Guy Bradberry contacted me and asked if he could come and address the council to introduce himself. He’s running for the Appeals Court…”
After being introduced, Bradberry addressed the council and those in attendance. He joked about the two minute time limit and recognized Mr. Geyen as someone he “goes way back with.” He spoke about his 31 years of work at the 14th JDC, being active in the city and a part of the city’s success. He also said of his career’s work with families over those 31 years. He asked for their votes and took questions. Mr. Geyen commented, acknowledging their “many, many years” of knowing each other and that the Judge was “fair and Impartial” and would be getting his vote. Judge Bradberry thanked everyone for the opportunity to speak and wished blessings on all.
Following the Judge, the schedule picked up with four appointments to chair and review bids for various goods and services: two for wastewater treatment plants, both taken by Mr. Ieyoub. Mr. Weatherford took the chair for the bid for supplies for use by various city divisions and departments.
The final action was taken on several ordinances. The most notable ones were, amending the ordinance to raise the funding level to complete the repairs and restoration of Central School Arts & Humanities Center. There was no discussion or questions, and it passed 7-0.
There was also an ordinance amending the times regarding the earliest time you can operate lawn equipment. The new starting time is 8 a.m. There was no discussion or questions; it passed 7-0.
There was also final action on an ordinance to accept the lowest bid for replacing the marquee at the Lake Charles Civic Center. The chair, Mr. Harvey, recommended the acceptance of the bid from Shannon Smith Construction of $1,184,950.00. When Mr. Ieyoub asked if there were any questions, Mrs. August asked, “Mr. President, can someone explain to me how this marquee will cost $1,184,950.00? Is it coming from outer space, or what kind of… Entergy?”
Laughter ensued. Mr. Huber spoke for the city, explaining that three of the four bids were within $20,000, with the other being within $70,000. When Mrs. August asked about the cost of the old marquee, Mr. Huber stated that the price to update the marquee was only an additional $200,000 more than replacing the analog marquee, so the decision was made to go with the upgrade.
Mr. Huber also stated that 90% of the cost was FEMA-eligible, meaning it could be reimbursed by FEMA because of hurricane damage. Mr. Eckard noted that the new marquee is more than a sign but an interactive board and very high-tech. It passed 7-0. There was also an Introduction and final action on an ordinance authorizing the settlement of a claim: the suit, the City of Lake Charles vs. multiple construction companies, and Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. The city attorney read the claim into the records due to pending litigation; this was bound over to the executive session. Introduction and final action passed 7-0 and 7-0.
One appointment was related to hurricane recovery: to review proposals the city received on the request for proposals to hire a program manager for the management of the CDBG-DR, the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Relief. Mr. Eckard was assigned and accepted to review the RFPs. (The Community Development Department of the city of Lake Charles oversees these grants, according to its website).
The council also accepted projects for Hurricane Laura repairs as substantially complete and are now authorizing the advertisement of the 45-day lien. In another resolution, Rosa Hart Theatre Asbestos Abatement and Moisture Mitigation is substantially complete and approves the ad of the 45-day lien.