The Natchitoches Parish Council heard arguments from volunteers representing the fledgling animal welfare organization Friends All United for Natchitoches Animals (FAUNA) on September 20 to authorize funding for the rescue and care of stray animals in the parish.
FAUNA members highlighted the legal responsibility of the parish government to provide animal control services in their request to the parish council to dedicate funds for this task. They also recommended their organization as a future animal care service provider following an impending merger of existing organizations Natchitoches Hope For Paws (NHFP) and Natchitoches Humane Society (NHS). Natchitoches Parish has not had a functioning parish animal shelter in recent years.
While reviewing the award, board members questioned the status of the FAUNA organization. FAUNA is expected to inherit the combined assets of NHFP and NHS, but has not yet been incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and the parish government will not be able to disburse funds until the process is complete. During the hearing, the board determined that the amount will be disbursed from January 1, 2023, when FAUNA will be established as a legal entity. The board also reserves the right to review the organization’s expenditure audit to ensure the appropriate use of public funds.
The question was also whether the level of funding will be available in the future parish council budget. Julie Lockhart said the funding could not be projected, but was always available from the parish’s operating budget each year she was employed as parish treasurer.
Board members voted unanimously to dedicate a total of $60,000 to the future animal care organization. The amount reflects $50,000 specified for construction of housing facilities and $10,000 granted for animal care services.
In a related motion, council authorized parish president John Richmond to coordinate with the town of Natchitoches to study the facility needs of a parish shelter. Their goal is to avoid overbuilding while ensuring that the facility meets the anticipated needs of the parish. Council Member Chris Paige noted that the Town of Natchitoches will fund 50% of the cost of the study while only 13-14% of the planned shelter resources are expected to be used.
Order 018-2022 to rezone 10597 Hwy 1 South, Natchez from Industrial and Agricultural (IA) to Commercial (B-3) use has been approved to allow general merchandise sales and vehicle inspections .
Order 019-2022 authorized budget changes for the Solid Waste Disposal, Roads Maintenance, and Landscaping and Zoning Funds.
The council has approved five orders relating to the development of an application for funding under the 2023 Community Development Block Grant (LCDBG) program for housing and community development. The five related agenda items authorized the individual steps of the application process, including the adoption of a citizen participation plan, the citizen complaints procedure, the procurement policy and the development procedures. program-related proposals.
Resolution 035-2022 affirms that the Parish has complied with the requirements of the Federal Out-of-System Bridge Replacement Program. The federal program provides 80% of the cost to replace or repair eligible, structurally deficient bridges, with the state providing 20% matching funds.
The board awarded an offer of $3,210,300.90 to Regional Construction, LLC. for the resurfacing of Harmony Road.
A grant application for improvements to the Chee Chee water system in the amount of $48,000 has been approved. Grant applications will seek funding from the Community Water Enrichment Fund (CWEF) or the Local Government Assistance Program (LGAP).
The board also voted to approve two change orders for improvement projects on Fish Hatchery Road and Bermuda Road. The change order for Fish Hatchery Road reconciles an error in the dollar amount of a previous change order and accounts for a discrepancy in the amount of materials required for the project. The Bermuda Road change order will provide additional safety and durability improvements during the project.
Ordinance 021-2022 was introduced to adopt a budget for the fiscal year running from January 1, 2023 to December 31, 2023.
Ordinance 022-2022 was issued to modify the 2022 general fund, the correctional fund and the library fund.
The board also approved the minutes of the previous meeting, heard reports from department heads, and held public hearings regarding Order 18-2022, 19-2022 and the LCDBG block grant program.
The next parish council meeting is scheduled for October 17.