Town of Richwood Minutes – January 18, 2018

Regular Meeting Minutes
Thursday, January 18, 2018
7:00 P.M.
Members In Attendance:
Alderperson Simeon Profit Alderperson Donald Richard
Alderperson Janice Fleming Alderperson Leola Keys

The Town of Richwood met for a pre-meeting held January 18, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. at the Richwood Multi-Purpose Center, 2710 Martin Luther King Drive, Richwood, Louisiana to consider the following business:
I. Meeting Called to Order by Mayor Gerald Brown at 7:00 p.m.
II. Prayer- was offered by Mayor Gerald Brown
III. Pledge of Allegiance – recited in unison
IV. Roll Call- Mayor Gerald Brown called roll with the following results: All Board Members Present

Alderperson Simeon Profit Alderperson Donald Richard Alderperson Janice Fleming Alderperson Leola Keys
* The record shall reflect (4) Alderpersons present at roll call.

V. Adoption of the Agenda-

* It was motioned by Alderperson Simeon Profit and seconded by Alderperson Donald Richard to adopt the agenda as presented.

* The record shall reflect a vote was taken with all (4) Alderpersons voting yes to adopt the agenda as presented.
* Alderperson Simeon Profit Yes Alderperson Donald Richard Yes Alderperson Janice Fleming Yes Alderperson Leola Keys Yes

VI. Adoption of December 21, 2017 Minutes:
It was motioned by Alderperson Janice Fleming and seconded by Alderperson Donald Richard to adopt the December 21, 2017 Minutes as presented.
* The record shall reflect a vote was taken with all (4) Alderpersons voting yes to adopt the December 21, 2017 Minutes as presented.

Alderperson Simeon Profit Yes Alderperson Donald Richard Yes Alderperson Janice Fleming Yes Alderperson Leola Keys Yes

VII. Financial Report:
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised the forum the Town was basically half-way through our budget, and we are at 46% in respect to our expected income, and at 49% of our expected expenditures, which puts us on tap for being half-way through.
It was motioned by Alderperson Donald Richard and seconded by Alderperson Simeon Profit to adopt the financial report as presented.
The record shall reflect a vote was taken with all (4) Alderpersons voting yes to adopt the agenda as presented.
* Alderperson Simeon Profit Yes Alderperson Donald Richard Yes Alderperson Janice Fleming Yes Alderperson Leola Keys Yes

VIII. Mayor’s Dialogue:
Mayor Gerald Brown- informed the forum beginning in 2018 the Food Bank distribution dates will change from once a month to two times per month; with everyone whose last name begins with the letters A – L coming on the 2nd Monday of each month, and last names ending in M – Z coming in on the 3rd Monday of each month.
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised the times would not be changing just the dates to accommodate the number of people serviced.
Mayor Gerald Brown- introduced the forum to the new police officer Ms. Tamekia Knowles has been with the Town for a couple of weeks and she is adjusting to the Town well.
Mayor Gerald Brown- the forum of the upcoming Mid-Winter Conference on February 20th and 21st in Baton Rouge, but there is also the Annual Spring Conference coming on March 1st and March 2nd in Shreveport and the cutoff for registration is January 29th.
Mayor Gerald Brown – advised the forum the copy of the letter he was distributing to them now, was a copy of the letter showing the Governor has approved the Town for a Louisiana Community Block Grant up to $ 234,000 to rehabilitate two (2) residential streets in our town.
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised the forum there are some requirements that must take place, being a seminar workshop in Baton Rouge he must attend on February 5th as well as the engineer. There is a cost letter that must be received on any expenditures, and he must wait on that.
Question from the floor if the two streets had been identified?
Answer from Town Clerk- Yes, Washington Street and Honeysuckle, the process of submission occurred approximately 2-3 years ago, and these are the two streets which were chosen.
Alderperson Janice Fleming- inquired at the time the two roads are repaired if there is any surplus can it be used on other streets?
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised the forum all funds must be used on the designated streets and if anything is left it would be returned back to the pot.
Alderperson Donald Richard- inquired if we can apply for other block grants each upcoming year to get the other streets repaired?
Mayor Gerald Brown- answered, yes, we can do that.
IX. Public Comments as They Relate to Items on the Agenda:
* Comment from floor to wait until later for comments

X. Adoption of Resolution 2018-01; A Resolution Authorizing the Town to Sell Surplus Properties

Mayor Gerald Brown – advised the forum the surplus properties in question are two (2) green police cars which were acquired approximately six (6) years ago and the Dodge Durango that the Town has had for almost 20 years, and all the vehicles are at the point they are just not safe to utilize, and the maintenance is costly.

Alderperson Janice Fleming- inquired once the vehicles are auctioned where does the funds go?

Mayor Gerald Brown- advised the funds are placed into the General Fund.

Ms. Elonda Potter- inquired what would be the use of those funds, and when would the Mayor be able to direct funds for the restoration of the Town, and some of these properties?

Ms. Elonda Potter- indicated that over 3 months ago the Board passed ordinances for Code Enforcement, and inquired if there have been any compliance letters sent out?

Mayor Gerald Brown- stated, no, and allow him to explain why, there is no way to enforce hundreds of letters being sent out at one time; and upon speaking with the Town’s attorney and the Parish Code Enforcer office which has been doing this for a long time, it is better to address 4-5 properties at a time, and continue from there.

Ms. Elonda Potter- stated with the state of the houses and some of the properties, some do not even have doors, they have blankets up at the door, she felt it was not the way to go to just send out letters to just 5 properties, this was unfair if the other property owners were not addressed at the same time.

Alderperson Janice Fleming- commented/ inquired as to the upcoming cleanup day the Mayor had scheduled for the Town?

Mayor Gerald Brown- stated he believed it was approximately 3 weeks from now and that the information would be provided to the property owners, so they would be aware.

Ms. Elonda Potter – spoke to the Board and stated that she hoped the Board was committed to the necessary change as much as those in the community are to make the community better than what it is.

Ms. Elonda Potter- voiced her concern with the lack of lighting in some areas, and inquired if funds would be available to address this issue?

Alderperson Simeon Profit- stated, they all of the Board members live in the community and they are committed to make changes in the community as well, however it takes money and time.

Alderperson Simeon Profit – advised they not only want to repair the streets, but they also want sidewalks and because the State has been in what he would call a recession, funds have not been readily available to the Town for the wanted projects, and we are pointing out the things we are wanting to do, and through the grants and matching funds we would be able to do those things. It takes the community wanting those things and committing taxes, so we can have the money to put aside for those things.
Ms. Elonda Potter- stated if the Town is needing someone administratively to send out these letters, she is willing to volunteer and come in to do this, that is how dedicated she is to this community.

Alderperson Janice Fleming- advised she travels in the evenings, late evenings to make certain what lights are working and where we can put lights on poles already existing; and bring to the attention of property owners that they can put lighting on poles.

Alderperson Janice Fleming- indicated she had also contacted Richwood Gardens concerning the need for lighting in that area, and was advised they have no plans in any near future to provide lighting in that area.

Mayor Gerald Brown- indicated he had spoken with the Police Jury, trying to get some type of lighting district set up in the Town of Richwood, and if we can get some type of funding from them to establish this.

Alderperson Leola Keys- inquired what could be placed in the receptacles on cleaning day?

Mayor Gerald Brown- stated trash, papers etc. but not tires nor appliances.

Alderperson Janice Fleming- stated, some of these things such as appliances can be taken to the shredder and be sold.
Ms. Elonda Potter- inquired why the Town could not rent a flatbed so the refuse such as appliances, tires etc. could be taken away?
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised when dealing with public funds, we must be careful of how they are spent, and these funds cannot be used for the benefit of personal use.
Ms. Elonda Potter – advised she felt letters should be sent out advising everyone of the cleanup action, and they what they are required to do, and that just placing it in the newsletter was not enough.
Mr. Leo Kelly- addressed the forum and advised he had been on the Board for 20 years, and the political process is not a grocery store where you can just suggest things and it gets done, it is a process; and you have ordinances and resolutions and you must follow the law, and these guys can only go so far.
Mr. Leo Kelly – stated, its like Mrs. Keys said, the citizens must do their part, the Board must follow the laws, and the General Fund is just what it means a general fund, there is not enough tax money being collected to fix the roads, there is not enough tax money coming in here through land taxes to fix roads. The grants and things like that come from the State, and if we don’t get a grant we can’t fix anything.
Mr. Leo Kelly – stated but the responsibility that is put on these guys (the Mayor and the Board) is like why they not doing this? Well, they can’t, because the money is not there, it’s too much responsibility being put on them for things they can’t do.
** Question from the floor so what can we do?
Mr. Leo Kelly – advised, what you can do is go to your Police Jury Meetings, and you get on your police juror for this district, that is not doing anything, I served on this Board for 20 years, and I understand the lack of monies, now we have come a long way, we are going through growing pains, but Mr. Brown has done a great job.
We have had problems with misappropriation of funds, but through him our managerial skills are better; before we had a person had to come down here and run the Town because our managerial skills were off, but now we are out of the red, and things are doing better, these guys are doing the best they can, but they are being blamed for stuff that they have no control over.
Mr. Leo Kelly- advised but what is happening is you are being misinformed about what they can do can’t do, but if you understood the political process, you would understand that there is nothing with this Board, there is nothing wrong with what they are doing, they are doing the best they can, but now they need help from you and other citizens to understand and support them in what they do, instead of (hand slaps) I mean that is not support.
Mr. Leo Kelly – stated, I hate to say this, but West Monroe is where they are right now, because the Board don’t argue, disagree, they got support from the people and when election time come, they don’t have a problem, because they are together; like Mrs. Keys said if something happening around the house, and you got too much stuff there, get it up yourself, don’t put it on your Board. In order to be together, we must work together.
This Board cannot be responsible for every little trivial thing, we are trying to do big things, there are laws in place we must follow and if something is needed we y we must make a new ordinance, but we cannot insert stuff in as we go along, it’s not that simple
Mr. Leo Kelly – stated, like he said running the Town is not like running a candy store, it’s business, big business and it is being run by him (the Mayor) and this Board, and we can’t ignore how it’s being ran, but I have faith in him, and I have faith in the Board, and hopefully this Town can go a little bit further, we have growing pains and every Town do, and hopefully throughout this term, this Board can take this Town to another level, we can’t just come in here and beat up on folks every night, we won’t ever get anything done.
Ms. Elonda Potter- stated she is not here to beat up on anyone, she is here to ensure this town is the best it can be and what it should be, and if we can do that together, let’s do it and anything I can do, I am here to do it, I am just committed to have a better life for me and this community.
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised that he believes that is what all of us wants, there is some mind set changes that must occur in some of our citizens because somethings have gone on for years after years after years , but that is what we are trying to do to drive that change, to drive that mindset change, but realize it is going to take some time and sometimes we have to take what they call baby steps, and be excited about the progresses we do make, and then build on them.
Mayor Gerald Brown- reminded the forum that there was still a resolution on the floor.

* It was then motioned by Alderperson Donald Richard and seconded by seconded by Alderperson Janice Fleming to Adopt Resolution 2018-01;( A Resolution Authorizing the Town to Sell Surplus Properties)

* The record shall reflect there was a vote taken with the following results:

* Alderperson Simeon Profit Yes Alderperson Donald Richard Yes Alderperson Janice Fleming Yes Alderperson Leola Keys Yes

XI. Adjournment:
It was motioned and meeting was adjourned @ 7:52 P.M.