Our Tax Dollars at Work?

By  | 

    This coming Tuesday the City Council will vote on whether to ratify a contract signed by Mayor Shelton requiring the city to take over maintenance of currently private streets and to spend tax dollars to maintain those streets.  Citizens interested in how and why tax dollars are committed and spent should consider attending next Tuesday’s 6 p.m. meeting in the CHS auditorium.
    In July, a week before the City Council voted to approve the Shoe Creek development, Mayor Junior Shelton signed a contract with the developer of Central Square, the development at the west end of Wax Road.  The developer agreed to extend a road in Central Square to serve as a second entrance needed by the developer of the proposed Shoe Creek development.  In exchange, Mayor Shelton committed that the City of Central would take over the ownership and maintenance of all of the private streets in Central Square, forever.
    In addition to maintaining that the Shoe Creek development’s 250 apartments violates the density allowed in Central’s ordinances, the petition filed in court by me and two other citizens asserts that Mayor Shelton had no legal right to sign the contract with the Central Square developer without City Council approval.
    Now, for reasons including “…to forever remove the issue of the Mayor’s authority to enter into the Agreement from the litigation,” the City Council will vote on whether to “ratify” the contract.  In addition to causing me to wonder whether an ordinance can be passed for the sole purpose of affecting the outcome of litigation, this proposed action raises several questions that hopefully will be answered by the City Council next Tuesday.
    If it was lawful for Mayor Shelton to sign the contract committing the city to accept streets as public and then maintain those currently private streets, why would it be necessary for the City Council to create and vote on this ordinance?
    Aren’t tax dollars going to be used to maintain these streets?  Remember, the City of Central would then own these streets forever.
    Were these private streets, constructed several years ago, built using the standards which were changed and made more stringent earlier in 2015?  I believe the biggest issue may be whether these roads meet “LSSRB Section 502 requirements for Superpave Asphaltic Concrete”, and if they don’t, who will be paying to bring the streets up to Central’s standards?
    The purpose behind Louisiana’s Open Meetings Laws is to ensure that the citizens are able to openly view the actions of our elected officials and to see what decisions they make which may affect our lives and our tax dollars.  This coming Tuesday is an excellent opportunity to come out and see your elected officials at work.  Any member of the public may express an opinion at the meeting prior to any vote.  So, come out and give our elected officials YOUR opinion.  That would be Good News for a Great City.