Agency holding meeting: Lake Charles City Council
Date: Wednesday, November 2, 2022, 5:30 PM Council Chambers
Documenter: Carl M. Ambrose, Jr.
The City Council meeting focused on a proposal to televise city council meetings and several public hearings.
The atmosphere was pleasant, with a few conversations going on before the meeting. The chambers were less than half full, with most citizens there to speak on ordinances of final action and a couple of representatives to speak in favor of televising the council meetings.
The meeting was called to order by the council president John Ieyoub, and Councilman Ronnie Harvey gave the invocation. The Pledge was led by Former District Attorney John DeRozier. Roll call followed with the remaining councilpersons, Stuart Wheatherford, Craig Marks, Vice-President Mark Eckard, Rodney Geyen, and Mrs. Luvertha August, all present. Mr. Ieyoub submitted a motion to approve the minutes from October 19, 2022, council meeting, which passed 7-0.
Several items were deferred, two ordinances for a public hearing involving the demolition of an apartment complex and an ordinance for amending the Code of Ordinances for the city concerning short-term rental properties.
There was only one appointment: to appoint a chairperson to review the bids for the 1st Ave Trail North from Broad St to I-10. Mrs. August accepted the chair appointment.
In the first case concerning an ordinance for demolition, Mr. John DeRozier represented James Mistretta. He and Mr. Mistretta spoke, asking for a deferment since work had been done and the city attorney, Mr. Morgan, had communicated with all parties involved. Mr. Mistretta was given a deferment and 90-day review set for February 1, 2023.
Former Judge Gene Thibodeaux represented Kings Palace LLC and told the Council of his client’s problems with the insurance company. They had no problem with demolition, but they could not finance the demolition due to the problems with the claim. However, they would be okay with the city moving forward, saying, “We will see them in court.” The regular 15-30 days for demolition was given.
There are a couple of other ordinances for demolition that were given 15-30 with proof of service, with one done with the appointment of a curator. Mr. David Coleman spoke about seeking an extension and was given a 30-day extension with a review to check progress.
A big discussion: Recording of meetings
The ordinance to record the meetings of the Council, which was a big debate last meeting, and obtain quotes from vendors for the airing of the meetings on the Calcasieu Government Channel. Tom Hafer, the communication director for the CPPJ, spoke to address some of the questions council members had concerning the issue.
The first to speak on this was Faith Hooks of the Alliance for Public Growth, who read a statement from the Board of Directors, stating, ” The Alliance for Positive Growth would like to submit its support for televised city council meetings as an indication of this bodies continued efforts toward governmental transparency. However, the APG also trusts this body of representatives elected by the people to choose the best course of action amongst themselves.” She then joked about only having three tickets for an upcoming APG event that she spoke about after Mr. Ieyoub asked if it was a free event. Rev. James Chavis, the station manager of KPPM, spoke in favor and offering their stations services to the Council for the airing of meetings. Mrs. August asked about formal requests for proposals, which Mr. Morgan addressed, explaining the possible avenues moving forward on how the Council could proceed.
Ms. Tasha Guidry, who is our program coordinator, addressed the Council, speaking of the need for transparency and reiterating that public meetings can’t be edited. She also talked about consensus building, and how it’s necessary for progress, “in order to have a democratic process, with that being said, every one of you here is here to represent your constituents, so although we want to consensus build and vote along with the constituents, we need to make sure we are actually representing the people of which we were elected. So I ask you guys to seriously take into consideration that we the people, are actually here in support of Mr. Marks’s endeavor and hope you seriously consider recording and posting on CGOV.”
Tom Hafer, the communication and media director for the CPPJ, spoke to address some of the questions council members had concerning the issue. He first stated that he was not here to advocate for or against by to provide insight and answer questions. He started by reiterating the point Ms. Guidry addressed; there is no editing of public meetings. He then advised that Livestream is only available in remote locations. He advised the Council on how other participating municipalities handled the process, which requires vendors to record and package the meeting and get it to the CPPJ by a certain time. Mrs. August wanted to clarify that there was a charge, though CGOV would be free.
Mr. Geyen spoke and wanted to make sure that it was an RFP request for a proposal to allow anyone interested in bidding to be able to. Mr. Morgan explained what it would take, and then there was a discussion of how to write the ordinance up and what motions for resolutions need to be made. Mr. Geyen made the resolution for an RFP for vendors. Mr. Wheatherford and Mr. Geyen made points about stipulations for specifications in the proposals. Mr. Geyen reiterated he wanted everyone to have an opportunity to bid on the project. After clarification from Mr. Morgan. Mr. Marks spoke about his research on cost-effectiveness and explained how the process would work to get this going along with requirements. Mr. Morgan stated the baseline requirements for the project. Mr. Geyen made a motion to amend, which Mr. Marks seconded.
Mr. Ieyoub wanted some stipulations that were agreed to. He also wanted to organize how speakers are handled. He noted that Sulphur had recently stopped televising the meetings because “the speaking got out of hand,” and looked to keep control. Mr. Marks then advised the proposal was for just the regular meetings. Mrs. August reminded them about the citizen awards, and they should be included. The amended proposal passed 7-0.
Mr. Harvey spoke on and recommended acceptance of the ordinance to accept the bid for repairs to the interior of the Lake Charles Civic Center. Keelan construction bid of $1,154,00.00 was taken 7-0. This is the only item associated with Hurricane Recovery on the agenda tonight.
Ordinances For Final Action
Bids for asphaltic mixtures used for cold application by the Dept of Public Works were accepted 7-0, as well as bids for water treatment chemicals, polymer flocculants, and the annual supply of traffic control products, also used by the Dept. of Public Works. These also passed 7-0.
Several professional service ordinances were passed, all with 7-0 votes with no discussion. The companies included:
Angelle & Donahue Oil & Gas Properties, Inc, Cope Associates, LLC, CSRS Inc., Dana Brown & Associates, Moss Architects, Meyer & Associates, Meridian Engineering Services.
There were also several ordinances for purchasing equipment, a loader for public works from Scott Enterprises and a tractor and backhoe from Abel & Sons. Parts from Landry Supply Co. A change order for an increase of more than 15% for the Wastewater Pipe bursting. There was also an ordinance to amend the zoning map for the construction of a self-storage facility at Nelson Rd and Rhorer Rd. and one to amend the payment terms for a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with Chennault Int. Airport for the associated cost associated with the Mallard Cove Transfer.
Several resolutions adopted by consent, including supporting a millage renewal for operations of Chennault Airport, setting dates for condemning structures, and several resolutions for a public hearing on items from the Planning and Zoning Commission and some ordinances concerning annexation, zoning, and bids on future work were the final business of the day.
Mr. Ieyoub advised of the ordinances for introduction by consent to be read into the record the following morning in council chambers at 9 AM.
The meeting was adjourned.
What are the specifics of the professional services ordinances passed?
Is cost really the issue with televising city council meetings?
What is meant by “the speaking got out of hand” in regards to sulphur stopping televising council meetings?