Highlights from the Parish President’s Report of the St. Martin Parish Council Regular Meeting of September 4, 2018

HENDERSON LAKE DRAWDOWN

For your edification, last week the water level in Lake Henderson rose to almost seven feet.  Therefore, acting in concert with the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, we opened the gates at the Henderson Control Structure from 8:30 A.M. on Thursday, August 23, 2018, and closed them on Saturday, August 25, 2018, at 3:00 P.M.  The water level at that time was 6.15 feet which is as ideal as we can expect.  Again, there were no reported fish kills and the vegetation appears to be proceeding better than anticipated.  I surmise that we will continue to adjust the gates between now and November 1, 2018, as water levels dictate.

ELECTRONIC TIME RECORDS

At long last, St. Martin Parish’s pay records will be calculated electronically commencing on October 1, 2018.  It was my goal to have this system fully operating by July 15, 2018.  Nonetheless, I met with CBM on August 27, 2018, and the final parameters were developed.  Beginning October 1, 2018, when an employee clocks in and out, his/her time will be electronically stored, and the pay earned electronically calculated.  Thus, our current, cumbersome, and time-consuming method of manually calculating pay will be a thing of the past.  This will save SEVERAL EMPLOYEES from consuming SEVERAL DAYS of manually calculating and checking hours worked and salary earned.

Another feature is that each employee using his personal, private, and protected username and password will be able to access his/her pay record and determine in real time earnings, leave time used, and leave time accrued.

Our office staff is second to none, and I submit that once this system is in place, employee effectiveness, morale, and productivity will be enhanced.  Our already competent, capable, hardworking staff will be elevated to another level without additional work expectations.

POLICY ON CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS

Parish Government frequently has maintenance and renovation needs which do not mandate adherence to formal bid procedures.  Currently, our practice is to obtain quotes for three or four contractors and proceed with the lowest offer.  Unfortunately, this practice, while completely legal, has never been reduced to writing.  This will change.  Additionally, I intend to obtain a list of licensed contractors who work in our Parish, and from this exclusive list we will solicit proposals.  I want to develop a system to insure that each contractor within our Parish has an opportunity to do work for us and that responses to all requests for proposals compare “apples to apples” relative to insurance requirements and the like.

SPECIAL EVENTS PERMITS

On occasion, we have received requests for approval of what is commonly referred to as a “special events permit.”  Under the law, an individual or organization may obtain from the Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control a permit to sell alcohol for an “event” that does not exceed three consecutive days.  However, this permit will not be issued unless the local governing authority approves or if required locally, the proper permit is obtained.  Traditionally, the local granting of such authority has presented no issue since applicants have been non-profit organizations, fairs, church organizations, and individuals sponsoring a benefit. Now, however, a practice has developed where an individual, solely for personal, pecuniary gain, sponsors a party or gathering and sells alcohol as part of this COMMERICAL venture.

Recently, I received a request from an individual from Carencro who had rented one of our community centers for a “birthday party.”  I approved the rental contract.  Several weeks later, my office received a request to authorized the issuance of a special event permit for this individual so he could sell alcohol in connection with a “big holiday bash.”  I requested the rental contract and quickly verified that our facility was going to be used by this individual to host a party so he could make a profit, personally, through the sale of alcohol.  I denied the request and personally conferred with this individual who admitted that the foregoing was indeed his intentions.

It is my position that the use of our premises for such purposes, and the granting of special events permits for such reasons, despite the venue for the “event”, is improvident.  Therefore, I have prepared a written policy which provides that special event permits will be authorized solely for organizations and individuals hosting events for traditional community, charitable endeavors.  I will ask at your October meeting that this policy be adopted as an ordinance.

As an aside, several parishes, including Lafayette Parish, have such a policy.

HENDERSON-NINA WATER SYSTEM/BUTTE LAROSE

In an effort to introduce potable water services in the Butte LaRose community, we abolished Waterworks District No. 5, and authorizing me to enter into a CEA with the Henderson-Nina Water System to assist it in securing the resources for the provision of water services to the residents of the former WW District No. 5.  We are now prepared to sign the CEA.  We will do so at the meeting of Henderson-Nina Board on September 19, 2018, at the Henderson Recreational Center.  The time is 6:00 P.M. and I will address any questions about the Parish’s role in this matter.  We anticipate many of the residents of Butte LaRose will be present. Naturally, all council members are invited to attend.  You are to be applauded for the unique approach to the water issues in this area; in fact, the State Director of the USDA has commented positively on our unique approach to this matter.

CANAL/ROADSIDE SPRAYING AND CLIPPING

As you are aware, we currently have a contract for canal and roadside spraying.  Mr. Dore and I have discussed this matter with each other and with several council members.  As a consequence, we will be meeting with our contractors and pertinent public works personnel on September 5, 2018.  I want to evaluate our program to verify its wisdom and to determine if we are adequately coordinating both the spraying and clipping.  There have been no reported issues; however, I believe a discussion of what we are and are not doing will be productive.

CECILIA COMMUNITY CENTER

On the afternoon of August 30, 2018, I met with Lynn Guidry, the architect for the Cecilia Community Center.  A preliminary budget for the project was developed after a conference with our Director of Finance.  Thus, within those budgetary constraints, Mr. Guidry was requested to commence a specific design of the Center.  Once completed, I will confer with all interested Council members to review and review the first plans/specifications.  I am excited for the Community and applaud the vision of Mr. Leblanc and Mr. Richard.  The recent construction of the center in Catahoula presents an excellent guide.  As Mr. Tauzin will attest, this facility is constantly receiving compliments.  While on the subject of Parks and Recreational Centers, the facility at Cade, under the leadership of Ms. Nelson, will rise to a new level.  I recently visited the site and was deeply impressed to the improvements being constructed there.