The council appointed members of the Home Rule Charter Commission, and members of the public again pressed for greater transparency in government. The council also had some updates on hurricane recovery and extensions for people living in RVs post-storm.
There were approximately 15-20 members of the public in attendance. One member of the community commented that the city had purchased many buildings but kept tearing them down, and “if the city bought all those buildings, why are we are meeting in a trailer house?”
KPLC and American Press were present. The meeting began at approximately 5:33. All city council members were present.
Before the full agenda was addressed, the council approved the minutes of the previous meeting.
Daren Dotson, Louisiana Region 5 STEM Project Coordinator at the STEM Center, spoke to the council and the audience about the STEM Center. Several years ago, Senator Hewitt put money aside for nine regional STEM centers. The Region 5 STEM Center is housed at Lake Charles Boston. “We are not preparing anybody. The people we are raising up are leaving Louisiana for jobs.” Dotson said that competitive robotics for children can help with that and that competition drives innovation.
They are the only stem center in Louisiana that is housed in a K-12 school, and industry partners include Phillips 66 and Chenier, who have donated thousands of dollars to the program. Dotson said they want to be the hub for STEM, “the Silicon Valley of the south.” There will be a robotics competition at Burton Coliseum on February 25, 2022, and the community is invited to attend.
The city council nominated the following individuals for the Home Rule Charter Commission: Gena Granger, Donna Emmons, Dennis Bergeron, Sid Rosteet, Carla Sigler, Becky Venissat, and Danny DiPetta.
Sheila Broussard said the “administration has been successful at shutting down the petition,” and she doesn’t think that the council listened to the public. Broussard said she called over 100 people and that the majority said it was common sense to have the community vote. Council Chairwoman Trahan said that everything is subject to public meetings laws and thus the public can be involved. Broussard said she will be streaming on Facebook Live at all of the meetings of the commission.
Bill Leblanc said he didn’t know if it’s legal but would like to set a time limit because “the other [commission] rocked on for a long time.” The committee will convene for approximately 18 months.
Mayor Danahey signed an agreement with Sulphur Housing Authority for the Sanitary Sewer Lift Station Replacement Project. Danahey asks to postpone because the city has not received the proper agreement needed to proceed.
An Ordinance passed declaring certain surplus movable property with an estimated total value of $8300 and providing for the disposal thereof.
The city passed an ordinance that corrects the property description for annexation of J & J Outdoor Advertising, for property located on the south side of I-10, east of Days Inn. The previous property description included adjacent property that is the right-of-way for Entergy.
Introduction of Ordinances
The council passed an ordinance which amends current one-half cent sales tax from 1.25% to 1%. The city attorney says the legislature reduced the maximum amount of interest on unpaid taxes, so all ordinances have to be amended to match that. Because of this issue, the city must also conform to standard definitions as set forth by the state.
The council passed an ordinance amending ordinance 617 which amends current one-percent sales tax from 1.25% to 1%.
The council passed an ordinance which changes the definition of Masters Sales and Use Tax ordinance
The city granted a right of way with Entergy for property across from Roselawn Cemetery. Entergy is running a transmission line above the property.
The city passed an ordinance which amended a previous ordinance which authorized Mayor Danahey to enter a cooperative endeavor agreement with Calcasieu Parish Police Jury and Ward 4 Marshal’s Office for salaries for the Marshal’s office. Danahey says they performed duties for the parish as well. Jennifer Thorn says the city is the pay master.
Mayor Danahey will be entering a Joint Services Agreement with Calcasieu Parish Public Safety Communications District for dispatching service to the Sulphur Fire Department.
An ordinance was introduced to authorize the private sale of a police dog to a police officer.
An ordinance was introduced to repeal Ordinance No. 1299, M-C Series which created the Hope Economic Development District on Beglis Parkway. Trahan says the EDD is no longer necessary for its original intent.
The next ordinance repealed Ordinance No. 1312, M-C Series which authorized the levy of a sales tax and hotel occupancy tax for the Hope Economic Development District located on Beglis Parkway.
Then, the City Council repealed Ordinance No. 1313, M-C Series which authorized Hope Economic Development District to enter into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with the City of Sulphur, the District and Hope Investment I, LLC with respect to economic development projects within the District.
The city repealed Ordinance No. 1314, M-C Series which authorized the City of Sulphur to enter into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement between the City of Sulphur, the District and Hope Investments I, LLC, to govern the collection of the tax, the use of the proceeds of the tax, the operation of the District and the obligation of the Company.
An ordinance was passed which amended Ordinance No. 1369, M-C Series which authorized the levy of a sales tax and hotel occupancy tax for the Opelram Economic Development District located on West Cal Blvd.
Finally, an ordinance was passed amending Ordinance No. 1372, M-C Series which authorized the levy of a sales tax and hotel occupancy tax for the Executive Economic Development District located west of West Cal Arena.
Sulphur resident Sheila Broussard said “the voices of the citizens are not being heard.” Broussard commented on a number of administrative issues which she says were not done correctly according to Robert’s Rules of Order.
Lake Charles city council voted unanimously to start filming (after public pressure) and she hopes that the city of Sulphur will reconsider. Broussard also spoke on the council’s discontinuation of filming meetings. “Ending videos definitely takes away transparency and takes away the rights of citizens to be informed,” Broussard said.
Amy Felice provided public comment stating that she loved knowing what was going on in the city that she loved. Felice stated that Lake Charles City Council had recently voted to begin videotaping council meetings, and she hoped that Sulphur City Council would consider doing the same. Ms. Felice has appeared at previous meetings with the same request.
Policies and Decisions
The city only received one bid for Sulphur Law Enforcement Center Storm Repairs, and it was 100% over their budget. The bid was rejected and the city will expand advertisement, according to Jennifer Thorn. Thorn also says that bidders had difficulty getting pricing on ballistic glass.
There was an amendment of a previously adopted Agreement with Rostan Solutions LLC, to include a new Task Order for Insurance Services and new federal clauses. Jennifer Thorn says Rostan is their FEMA consultant.
The members of city council accepted Substantial Completion for Roselawn Cemetery Storm Repairs – Fencing. There was no public comment on this item.
Property condemnations and demolitions
The following properties were on the agenda to assess condemnations. Sulphur Municipal Code indicates that when an owner “fails to appeal therefrom within the time provided in R.S. 33:4763, the mayor may proceed with the demolition or removal of the condemned building or structure.”
- 705 North Stanford Street This is a trailer that Ellender says doesn’t look bad and it appears as though they’ve done some things to it. Ellender says she will vote no, which means they are not going to condemn the building. Gail Stall says she is waiting on four signatures to do the succession. She asks if she can have anyone stay there, and Ellender says she cannot. The council voted unanimously to NOT condemn the property.
- 810 North Claiborne Street #16, #20, #23, #A5. Ellender says she went by these locations and made a motion to condemn the properties. The properties will be condemned.
- 914 Platt Street: There was a fire at this location and it is being cleaned up. There is a camper out there that was moved there after. She wants to know where they are putting their wastewater. This person, who did not clearly identify themselves by name, states that her neighbors are living there with no water or electricity. The burned structure was cleaned up. The council says this would have to be two separate items. The trailer and debris are being removed.
Bill Leblanc says there were people living in travel trailers all over the city before the hurricane and they are still living in them today. The building was condemned.
- 1904 Taylor Street (Accessory structure only) – The city states they have done their due diligence. This is a shed in a backyard that has collapsed. The building was condemned.
- 201 East Mimosa Drive – Has been vandalized. Condemned.
- 708 Landry Street – This property was demolished last Friday and debris has been removed.
- 105 Perkins Street, Condemned
- 1609 Palermo Drive – If orders aren’t followed by the owner, the council will move to condemn. The owner is not present. It has already been voted on to be condemned with conditions. Only one of the conditions was met. The owners have until Friday.
The city discussed extensions for temporary housing in recreational vehicles due to damage caused by Hurricane Laura.
Living in RV after 1.5 years
- 306 Doiron Street – extended
- 945 Beulah Street – Hardy abstains from voting, as the owners are related to her children. The extension was granted
- 9 Poinsettia Road – extended
- 906 Taylor Street – extended
Living in RV after 2 years
- 411 Bowie Street – Extension granted
- 851 McArthur Street – The owner just received a check from her insurance company. City attorney says if the insurance company is out of state, which it is, it will take longer to receive the money to begin work on the house. The owner says she has emails going back to last year with her insurance company.
Meeting ended at 6:46 PM.
What are the plans for the newly purchased buildings?