Posted: December 6, 2016

November 9, 2016 Regular Town Council Meeting Minutes


Town of Madisonville
Regular Town Council Meeting
November 9, 2016

The meeting was called to order by Mayor Pelloat.
Roll call was as follows:  present – Mayor Pelloat, Councilmen Bounds, Hitzman, Haddox, and Bouey.  Councilman Doran was absent.
The pledge was led by Councilman Hitzman.
The invocation was led by Councilman Bouey.

Approval of October 12, 2016 Regular Meeting Minutes – the minutes were accepted on motion of Councilman Bouey and seconded by Councilman Haddox, all were in favor.

October 26, 2016 Public Committee Meeting Minutes – the minutes were accepted on motion of Councilman Hitzman and seconded by Councilman Bouey, all were in favor.

Approval of September 2016 Financial Statements – the financial statements were accepted on motion of Councilman Hitzman and seconded by Councilman Haddox, all were in favor.

Comments:  members of the audience will have three (3) minutes to make a statement or express a concern at the outset of the meeting – 1. Mrs. Beth Fisher 303 Pine St. – Mrs. Fischer stated her home was built in 1840’s and is concerned about removal of shrubs and trees on town property as new space may become employee parking for businesses, church parking and may limit resident parking to one car. Mrs. Fischer also stated if trees removed and there is less green space, impacts will be adverse rain water runoff, decrease in property values, and right to enjoy her property.  She requested that the Town preserve its charm and beauty as well as its character and historic nature.   2. Mr. Joey Mahon 201 Rampart St. – Mr. Mahon made several statements and asked a number of questions.  His statements included the Town allowing the well-being of businesses over residents, converting resident property into Town property without the Town maintaining the property, residents being punished by favoring business parking over resident parking, and Mayor Pelloat removing green space in front of his house, thereby denying him the use of his front porch and door.  Mr. Mahon stated that Friends Restaurant stands in violation of height size, sign size and parking ordinances.  He asked questions regarding whether the height was based on the original variance with the lighthouse at the top, was another project given a variance, does Friends have adequate parking , and who authorized Steve Benton to issue the permit.  Mayor Pelloat stated that this is the first time he is hearing the questions and that Mr. Mahon may or may not get answers to all of his questions as some of the questions are regarding actions that occurred during the prior administration.  Mayor Pelloat stated that personal use of Town property green space has created problems with the utility systems and parking, that Mr. Mahon is complaining about others but asking for special consideration for himself, that he had conversations with Mr. Mahon and asked him not to pursue these issues as Mr. Mahon would be bringing these problems upon himself.  Mr. Mahon responded that the Town does not maintain its green space.  Mayor Pelloat disagreed and stated the Town maintenance department does an excellent job.

Councilman Hitzman stated that the Town is for all, including Mr. Mahon, and that asking questions about the previous administration is wrong.  He stated that the Town is for Mr. Mahon, not against him, and that it is okay for Mr. Mahon to seek legal counsel as the property outside the sidewalk belongs to the Town.  Mr. Mahon stated the Town property runs through the front of his home and should be grandfathered as there is no sidewalk in front of his house.  He stated that his property on Cedar Street is on Town property.  Mayor Pelloat stated he pre-dates Mr. Mahon and that there was a sidewalk on Rampart Street that has since been tore up.  Mr. Mahon disagreed and stated there was never a sidewalk.

Councilman Haddox stated that the Town Council has been addressing plants, trees and other obstructions on public property which can’t be blocked.  He stated that public property can be used for parking and that Mr. Mahon’s issue with the location of public versus private property is a different issue.

Mr. Mahon stated the Town created the problem by not requiring adequate parking for Friends and the Church (St. Anselm), and that the Town continues to create more parking for Friends by turning streets into one-way.  He also stated that Festivals block Water Street.

Councilman Hitzman stated that creating more parking for Friends is not the intention of ensuring public property is not obstructed.  Mr. Mahon stated that the only benefit is business parking including parking for employees.

The conversation concluded with Mayor Pelloat stating that Mr. Mahon’s questions will be answered in adequate time.

Old Business:

Introduction of Ordinance Regarding Band Permits – after discussion by the Council of times and dates, including holidays, for outside bands, the Council voted to change some of the times.  A motion was made by Councilman Bounds to change the time for Friday and Saturday nights from midnight to 11:00pm. The motion was seconded by Councilman Bouey.  Councilmen Haddox and Hitzman voted no.  Mayor Pelloat voted yes to break the tie and the revised resolution passed to be voted on for adoption at the December 2016 Regular Council Meeting.

Orange Cones and plantings on Town property – Councilman Haddox read the Town’s Chapter 7, Section 7.1 Ordinance that addresses obstruction of Town property.  Councilman Hitzman addressed Mr. and Mrs. Fischer’s concerns stating that there were three special meetings on the issue and to be fair to all, the issue needs to apply to all or none of Town property.  A discussion on the issue included concerns that the Town property might be cemented, mailboxes may be moved, and utility lines may be affected.  Mayor Pelloat stated that there is no intent to cement all the Town property, that the mailbox issue is not being addressed at this time, and that the removal of trees will be done in a manner to ensure utility lines are not affected.  Mayor Pelloat then stated that no action is required and that the Town’s Chapter 7, Section 7.1 ordinance will be enforced.

Mayor Pelloat requested the City Attorney, Mr. Danner, address the legality of “No Parking” signs on private property.  Mr. Danner stated the signage is improper and illegal as it indicates that the owner exercises possession over Town property and as such is in violation of the Town’s ordinance. Bill McHugh of the St. Tammany Farmer asked if the Town intends on enforcing the ordinance and notifying residents.  Mayor Pelloat responded yes and that the Town will address the challenges with utilities.  In response to a timeframe, Mayor Pelloat stated no specific timeframe has been established.

Recyclables – Ms. Webb requested that the Town address recyclables.  Mayor Pelloat stated that Rodney Keys and Waste Management do not have a recyclable pickup process and that Waste Connections is not in Town and is selective with its program with an additional charge for recyclable pickup on a separate day.  Mayor Pelloat also stated that there are no recyclable sites with the exception of Stranco located on Highway 59.  Mayor Pelloat recommended not pursuing any additional haulers.  Councilman Haddox asked if there was a quote from another hauler.  Mayor Pelloat stated no quote was requested from another hauler as it was not intended to add another hauler in Town.

New Business:

STARC – Dianne Baham of STARC and Julie Agan of COAST spoke about what the organizations do for the community and how they are funded.  They stated that each receives 1 mill in taxes and that the millage will be on the December 10th ballot for renewal.  They thanked the Town for being a friend over the years and requested support for the millage renewal.  Mayor Pelloat thanked the representatives for all that they do for the community.

Maritime Museum and Digital Engineering Presentation – Mr. John Ammerman spoke about the Maritime Museum’s (Museum) efforts to protect and preserve the Lighthouse.  Future plans include tours leaving from the Museum to the Lighthouse. Rob Delong and Andrew Woodruff of Digital Engineering gave a presentation on a design to protect the Lighthouse from wave action and to protect and maintain the shoreline.  They stated that a grant application was approved for $120,000 for the design; however, construction funds are not available.  Obtaining permits has been the most work so far.  Mr. Ammerman then stated that a “Go Fund Me” account has been established for the project and that they are seeking the Parish’s help in grant writing so as to apply for additional grants for the project. Using Grand Isle as a basis, it is estimated that $1.5 million will be needed to complete the project.

LRWA: Groundwater Protection Ordinance – Ms. Susan Robbins of the LA Rural Water Association (LRWA) spoke on the need to protect the Town residents’ water supply and to enact an ordinance restricting certain businesses that may impact the Town’s quality of water.  The recommended restriction is a 1,000 foot barrier around the Town’s water wells.  Ms. Robbins spoke on a few communities that lost its water wells and the significant costs to redo the well fields.  She stated this is a major issue throughout the country.  She presented the draft ordinance for review by the Town’s attorney.  She then asked if there were any questions.  During a discussion, Mayor Pelloat stated that he does have concerns but will look at the issue.  Mr. Kyle Matthews, Director of Public Works, stated that Tangipahoa opted not to pass an ordinance six months ago and now a gas station is now being built next to a well. It was noted that wells outside of Town is a Parish issue.  In response to potential zoning issues, Mr. Gordon Mellencamp stated that if there is an overlay zone it would not stop business development but allow for more control.

Resolution authorizing the Mayor to enter into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with LaDOTD – Mayor Pelloat spoke on a request by LaDOTD for the Town to enter into an agreement to identify where there is a need for parking and roadway guardrails.  The ordinance was read.  Councilman Bouey made a motion to authorize Mayor Pelloat to sign the agreement and Councilman Bounds seconded. The motion passed with all in favor.

Amend Budget FY2015-2016 – Mayor Pelloat stated that the FY2015-2016 Budget required amendment as state law requires the budget be amended if actual expenses are greater than 5% of the original budget or if revenues are less than 5% of the original budget. The General Fund and Special Revenue/Sales Tax expenses were greater than the 5% threshold and the Special Revenue/Sales Tax Fund revenue was less than the 5% threshold.  Mr. Wayne C. Morlier spoke on the largest expense and revenue line items that caused the variances.  After discussion, Councilman Haddox made a motion to amend the budget and Councilman Hitzman seconded.  The motion passed with all in favor.

Monthly Department reports – Engineer -   Mr. Joe Harman reported that the Mabel Drive project is finished and there were no additional items to report.  Police Department - Chief David Smith reported seventy tickets had been issued, 3,252 calls answered, 8,696 patrol miles logged, and 14 arrests made.  Maintenance - Mr. Kyle Matthews reported 23 new customers, two new subdivisions (Guste Island addition and Firetower Road) with over 500 future new services, fuel tanks at barn were elevated, a dead-end barrier placed at end of Rampart Street, working with the state to concrete 200 feet north of the low bridge on Lake Road, and grants applications filed for improving the sewerage pumping lift stations, purchase of one new police vehicle, and developing a recreation trail (sidewalk) to Madison Ridge and Madisonville Oaks.  Mr. Matthews continued by saying that the Mabel Drive street pavement is complete, a 400 foot barrier on Lake Road is complete and that shade shelters, all galvanized that can withstand wind speeds of 130 mph, are planned for the boat launch parking lot at the end of Lake Road. Mayor Pelloat stated that the Town has $59,000 in donations available to improve the boat launch area and fishing pier.  He also stated that the Maintenance crew is going to pour a foundation and that barricades were purchased from the state for the Lake Road project.  Mayor Pelloat also thanked Ward 4 Councilman Mike Lorino for having Parish grass cutting crews in Town.  At this time, Mr. Mahon stated that in regards to the Rampart Street Barricade, it had no topping, is not flat enough and asked if there were plans to improve the street surface up to the barricade.  Mayor Pelloat state that there are no plans at this time and that the items to which he refers are low on the priority list.  It was suggested that a “Dead-end Street” or “No Outlet” sign be placed at Rampart and Cedar so that vehicles do not turn onto Rampart and then have to turn around.  Mayor Pelloat stated this can be looked into.  Mr. Mahon asked what factor led to the barricade.  Mr. Jewell Chatellier responded that the Corps of Engineers had a wetland issue with filling in beyond where the barricade is now located.  Mr. Mahon stated that the Town is still in violation of the Corps of Engineers as it has not removed the entire fill it put there.  Mr. Chatellier disagreed.  Mr. Mellencamp stated some of the fill has not been removed and that in the past the Town has used the area for dumping.  Mr. Mahon still disagreed that the Town removed the entire fill it placed in the wetlands.  Mayor Pelloat asked Mr. Chatellier if the Town is in violation.  Mr. Chatellier responded that the Town is in good standing with the Corps of Engineers.  Mr. Matthews continued his report that Mr. Robert Baker, owner of Baker Pile Driving, removed and replaced six defective piling on the Riverfront and that the wood pilings at the Coast Guard Shed will be removed. Mayor Pelloat stated that a 2X12 wood buffer is being installed to protect the Riverfront bulkhead.  Permits Department - Mr. Jewell Chatellier reported there is a healthy interest in folks wanting to move into Town and he is attempting to get accession work performed on lines of property. He stated in the future he would like to address the Council on a 5 year plan and that he went over Ordinance Chapter 10 with the Planning and Zoning Commission. He has given this also to others and the Council for any ideas as he values their input.  He requested a meeting with Councilman Haddox and his committee.  Councilman Haddox agreed to the meeting. Mayor Pelloat asked about the Emergency and Operations Plan.  Councilman Haddox stated that instead of dedicating funds for clean-up, he would like to see another mechanism for these funds to be available in time of a disaster.  At this time Mayor Pelloat called upon Mr. John Ammerman, Vice-President of Iberia Bank to address the potential of a Letter of Credit (LOC).  Mr. Ammerman stated that this is a good use of the LOC process and alternative for the purpose of clean-up based on an amount deemed appropriate and that he is looking into the LOC process.  Councilman Haddox stated he also believed it is a good alternative because about $600,000 was required after Katrina and that the Town had to wait for FEMA funds to be received.  Mr. Ammerman stated he will work out the details.  Town Attorney – Mr. Danner reported he is handling several matters:  1. Sent letter to Baham/Katrina regarding reimbursement documents and recently received correspondence from the Baham attorney that stated the documents will be provided.  2.  Working with Hunt Telecommunication’s attorney on a franchise agreement for the cable they have laid to the library.  He made some changes to the preliminary draft and it should be available soon. 3. He prepared and resolved the Entertainment Ordinance. 4. Working with Mr. Chatellier to require the Madison Ridge (Hwy 22 subdivision) developer to rededicate/donate the Town service property.  5. Negotiating with Franco’s for a group corporate rate and waiver of initiation fees.  6. He reported the grant forms for the lighthouse project are complete.  7. Working with Brian Trainor, curator ad hoc, to petition for expropriation of the cemetery in Town from private to public.  He expects to have the cemetery in the name of the Town within the next two to three months.  8. He prepared a letter for the Mayor to the bidder for the sale of one vehicle.

Comments by Council – In regards to recyclables, Councilman Bounds suggested that Waste Connections be requested to provide a quote. Councilman Haddox agreed that the Town find out the cost and how many residents would be affected. After discussion, Mayor Pelloat agreed to request a quote.   No other comments by the Council.

Mayor’s report to Council – Mayor Pelloat read the Madisonville Draw Bridge New Closure Announcement and stated that the media release would be at 2pm on Thursday, November 10, 2016 across from the Town Hall.  He invited the public to attend. He also stated that there would be additional studies in addition to the one study performed on existing traffic flow and bridge opening times.  He then asked District 4 Councilman Mike Lorino if he would like to comment.  Councilman Lorino stated that Mayor Pelloat has repeatedly told him that he (the Mayor) insists that any changes result in maintaining the charm and character of the Town.  Councilman Lorino stated that that the issue simply is that there are too many cars on Hwy 22 and that the 4-way stop at Main St. and Hwy 22 grades a “ F” based on the state’s grading scale.  He also stated that experimenting with changing the bridge opening times and traffic flow will allow the State, Parish and Town to determine the future direction but there will need to be give and take by all involved.  He also stated that he believes that the new roundabout at Highways 1085 and 1077 as well as other scheduled roundabouts and a new entrance/exit to I-12 by Highway 1085 could relieve traffic flow on Highway 22 across the Madisonville Bridge.  Mr. Joe Mahon asked if traffic flow increased by 30% would not that result in a 30% increase in vehicular traffic.  Councilman Lorino stated that with the additional subdivisions already planned off Highway 22 west of Town, the change in bridge closure times is expected to keep the traffic flow steady rather than increase the percentage of vehicles traveling across the bridge.  Councilman Lorino also stated that District 4 is not like the other districts in the parish and that Parish President Pat Brister understands this and by being on the Regional Planning Commission is constantly looking for solutions.  Councilman Lorino provided the details of the four planned studies that he hopes will be complete in four months.  The four studies are:
1. Present 30 minute bridge openings with the four way stop at Main St. and Hwy 22.
2. New bridge opening times with the four way stop.
3. New bridge opening times with a stop light at Main St. and Hwy 22.
4. Present 30 minute bridge openings with a stop light at Main St. and Hwy 22.

Mr. Louis Ogle asked if the studies were taking into account that the Town needs to be pedestrian friendly.  Mayor Pelloat stated that the LaDOTD officials and he attempted to cross Hwy 22 at Main St. and that it is a challenge; however, the state officials will be considering what can be done to help the Town be pedestrian friendly. 

Mr. Anthony Leone asked where another roundabout might be constructed.  Councilman Lorino stated he was not sure but that it would not be at the four way stop at Main St. and Hwy 22.  Councilman Haddox stated that he was not in favor of traffic coming too fast through the Town.  Councilman Lorino stated that Mayor Pelloat agrees and thus there will be either a four way stop or stop light at Main St. and Hwy 22.  Mayor Pelloat stressed that he will never support any position that calls for no controls at the four way stop.

Adjournment – there being no further business the meeting adjourned on motion of Councilman Bounds and seconded by Councilman Haddox.  The motion carried with all in favor.

Wayne C. Morlier, Acting for Joyce Core, Clerk