City Council Update- 4/27 Meeting

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The first item on the agenda for Tuesday's City Council meeting was a report from CH2MHill at the request of Councilman Washington.  CH2MHIll gave a summary of the jobs that they had completed over the past several months, including the number of requests addressed vs. the number of requests pending.  Mr. Higgs of CH2MHill then answered a series of questions from the Council concerning pending requests and drainage work.

Next on the agenda was an item also featuring CH2MHill.  The company sent corporate employees from Atlanta and from the Southeast Region office to answer questions concerning ethics and an ad placed by CH2MHill during the recent Central election.  However, due to a pending lawsuit by Central City News against CH2MHill concerning these very issues, the company's representatives were unable to comment or answer any of these questions.

Councilman Ross addressed the next item, which amended the current budget by adding $115,000 for drainage improvements and repairs.  The amendment was approved unanimously by the Council.

Councilman DeJohn introduced the contract renegotiation with CH2MHill and the budget for their services.  The contract is scheduled to be renegotiated annually, and if a mutual agreement is not reached, there is a formula in place based on CPI and ECI indices which will dictate the new contract amount.  CH2MHill, rather than moving forward with an increase in their pay that was allowed by the contract, offered to save Central $150,000.  CH2MHill had researched their funds and labor and had found that they could provide their services for less money than they were scheduled to receive.  On top of the $150,000 going back to Central, the company has agreed to an additional 20 crew days of labor and standard equipment, mainly for drainage issues, at no additional cost to Central.  The motion to accept CH2MHill's reduced rates in the contract was passed by the Council, 4 to 1.  Concilmen DeJohn, Ross, Moak, and Councilwoman Lansing voted yes.  Councilman Washington voted no.  It should be mentioned here that the motion was not to renew the contract, as there is one more year left in the three-year contract between the city of Central and CH2MHill.

The SPUD case that was heard at last week's Planning and Zoning meeting was addressed again at City Council.  After hearing one public comment on the issue, the representative for the applicant withdrew the case from the agenda, saying that the developer will not be moving forward with the project at that location.

The Council then unanimously supported the Planning & Zoning Commission's recommendation that an applicant not be allowed to subdivide a tract of land on Sullivan Road.  The applicant was requesting a waiver from a code requiring a minimum area of 22,500 square feet when no public sanitary sewer is available.  The request was denied by the Council.

Councilman Moak reminded everyone of the upcoming election this Saturday for the EBR Sheriff's Office tax and the Chief of Police for Central.  Moak emphasized that the tax is a renewal of an existing tax and is not a new issue.  The tax pays for around 16% of the Sheriff's Office budget.  This tax and the EBR Sheriff's Office do affect Central, as we are a part of the parish.  Moak, DeJohn, and Ross all spoke in support of this tax and passed a recommendation that the Council be supportive of the tax renewal.  There were no objections.

Do not forget to vote this Saturday for Chief of Police, as well, as Councilman Moak pointed out that both candidates have been working hard for Central's vote and deserve a good turnout at the polls, no matter which candidate you choose.  Mayor Watts also commended Browning and Welborn for running what he called a "classy" campaign.

The next City Council meeting will be May 11th and will address, among other things, the sports bar proposal for Sullivan Road at Wax Road.  This item was brought up at the last Planning and Zoning meeting, and the Commission unanimously recommended that the Council approve the request to rezone the land as CAB2.