Council supports maintenance contract

Leslie D. Rose @Editor_Citizen

The Gonzales City Council is in support of awarding a $53,000 annual contract to D&D LLC for athletic facilities maintenance.

Under the contract, D&D would be responsible for the cleaning, maintenance, up-keep and field markings of parks within the city limits. This does not include grounds at Lamar Dixon Expo Center, as that is under the jurisdiction of Ascension Parish.

All councilmen were in agreement with the terms of the contract. Councilman Terance Irvin requested that the company also be responsible for restrooms at the parks, especially noting Carver, where the restrooms had been locked during the day.

Mayor Barney Arceneaux opened the meeting with a moment of silence for former Ascension Parish Councilman, Pat Bell, who died last week.

A final vote was taken on Ordinance 3096 to amend the code of ordinance chapter 22 - zoning, section 22-4 Boundaries of Districts to approve the request of the J. Rosemary Bell Estate. The request, which was approved, was to rezone approximately four acres of the J. Rosemary Bell Estate known as Lot 12, situated on the north side of W. Worthey St. from its existing R-8 Zone to an R-3NC Zone.

Two non-running 1999 Ruff & Tuff golf carts from the Fire Dept. were declared as surplus. A special event request was granted for Community Title Loan to host an appreciation and awareness event at Express Check Advance from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on July 15.

In the engineering report, city engineer Jackie Baumann, advised the council that the Cornerview turn-lane (water and gas) relocation project has 100 percent complete plans. In roads, the Right-of-Way letters for the Cornerview project have been mailed to homeowners for land acquisition to begin. Revised final plans have been submitted back to DOTD for the La. 44 pavement preservation project. Testing reports for the local road rehabilitation projects was received on June 23 and cost estimates are underway.

Alvin Broussard of DPW reported that the asbestos abatement at the old Ascension College is complete and construction crews are back to work.

Mike Eades with Ascension Economic Development (AEDC) presented a business report to the council that shows in the last 12 months, AEDC has made 15 business retention and expansion visits with firms located in Gonzales. In 2016, AEDC set a goal of 50 visits with existing firms parish-wide. Year-to-date, they have met with 22 companies. During the last 12 to 18 months, these companies have added a combined 114 new employees, with an average of 57 percent being residents of the parish.

AEDC also plans to expand its board to include community members - one from Gonzales, Sorrento and Donaldsonville, as well as maintaining its council liaison, Kirk Boudreaux. The amendment to their articles and by-laws is expected to be discussed as an agenda item at the July 7 regular meeting of the Ascension Parish Council.

As part of its report, Eades also presented council with a Gonzales leakage report, produced by Buxton, Inc. in February.

The report highlights Gonzales' largest surplus sub-category stores as pharmacy, food and drink, sporting goods, auto parts and furniture. The businesses with the largest leakage are clothing, home furnishing, building materials and garden. Surplus occurs when businesses in the city capture both the local market plus attract shoppers from outside of the city. Leakage occurs when city residents spend more of their money for retail products than businesses located in the city are capturing.

The report shows that Gonzales was either in equilibrium or surplus for all 11 of the major store types covered, showing a combined annual surplus of $152 million for major store types.

AEDC's major event, Ascension Small Business Power Week, will be Aug, 15 to Aug. 19. There will be a training program at the Gonzales branch library during that week.