Posted: January 6, 2018

Minutes - Regular Town Council Meeting Wednesday, December 13, 2017




December 13, 2017



Call meeting to order Mayor Pelloat

Roll Call Wayne C. Morlier, all present

Invocation – Councilman Doran

Pledge –Councilman Haddox

1. Approval of November 8, 2017 Minutes

Councilman Bouey made a motion that the November 8, 2017 minutes be approved.  Councilman Haddox seconded the motion, the motion passed with all in favor.

2. Approval of November 28, 2017 Public Committee Minutes

Councilman Bouey made a motion that the November 28, 2017 minutes be approved.  Councilman Haddox seconded the motion, the motion passed with all in favor.

3. Approval of October 2017 Financial Statements

Councilman Hitzman made a motion that the October 2017 Financial Statements be approved. Councilman Haddox seconded the motion, the motion passed with all in favor.

4. Public Comment Period:  members of the audience will have three (3) minutes to make a statement or express a concern at the outset of the meeting.  (Anyone having or expressing a concern tonight may or may not get an answer due to the fact that the council is hearing the concern for the first time.  All statements will be considered and everyone will receive an answer in the near future).

Ms. Judy Darby, 810 Main Street, asked if there has been a decision on the future use of the fire house.  Mayor Pelloat responded that there has not been a decision.

Mr. Joey Mahon, 201 Rampart Street, stated that two months ago he sent a letter to the Mayor and Council asking that the potted plants across from his property be removed. He provided pictures, stated that surveyors had put down stakes yesterday, and that the property lines show where the plants are on Town property. Mayor Pelloat stated that Mr. Mahon’s issue is listed under old business and that all plants and vegetation on both sides of Rampart Street would be removed.  Mr. Mahon then asked if the same standard would be applied across Town.  Mayor Pelloat responded that he did not know if the same issue exists in other areas of Town and that the reason the plants/vegetation was being removed was due to Mr. Mahon’s insistence.  Mr. Mahon stated his issue is only with the potted plants.  Councilmen Bounds stated that all plants/vegetation on Town property is to be removed. Mr. Mahon stated he feels retaliation and does not understand. Councilman Haddox responded that Mr. Mahon asked for the removal action. Councilman Bounds stated that this has been discussed for months with both sides of the street being mentioned. Mr. Mahon again asked that the standard be applied on both sides of the street but not where the pictures indicate vegetation is not on Town property. Mayor Pelloat stated the Town will try to make sure only plants and shrubbery on Town property is removed.

Mr. Tom Biernatski, 204 Rampart Street, stated that there are several stakes in certain places and questioned which stakes are accurate. He requested a meeting with the building inspector.  Mr. Jewell Chatellier, Building Inspector, responded that he is unable to address the survey stakes. Mayor Pelloat asked Mr. Chatellier to review the surveys. 


5.  Mayor Pelloat stated that Mr. Keith Dufour, 451 Hwy 22, asked that consideration of his request for approval of fill dirt be postponed to the January 2018 Regular Council Meeting. Mayor Pelloat asked Mr. Chatellier to address the reason for postponement.  Mr. Chatellier stated that the field work has been completed; however, the documentation by Mr. Tom Brown is not complete for presentation to the Council.  Councilman Doran asked about the land fill ordinance requirements. Mr. Chatellier responded not over six inches. Councilman Doran asked if other infractions, such as zoning, need to be addressed.  Mayor Pelloat stated that Mr. Chatellier was only given direction to address the fill ordinance issue.

6. Mayor Pelloat asked Mr. Kyle Matthews, Public Works Director, to address the Rampart Street work request. Mr. Matthews stated that the surveys were complete and asked Mr. Biernatski which stakes were at issue.  Mr. Biernatski responded. Mr. Mahon asked Mr. Matthews if there is any doubt that Mr. Biernatski has potted plants on Town property despite the multiple stakes.  Mr. Matthews stated “no”.

Mayor Pelloat then stated that two items were inadvertently omitted from the agenda; Mr. David Burke’s request for a variance on his 1115 Pine Street residence and Bruno, Inc. request to subdivide property located between Hwy 22 and Cedar Street.

Councilman Doran made a motion to amend the agenda to include the two items.  Councilman Bouey seconded the motion, the motion passed with all in favor.

Mr. Burke addressed the nature of his request by stating there is nothing further than what he stated at the November 2017 meeting. Councilman Hitzman stated that his only concern is extension of the roof to the property line.  Councilman Doran asked if this is the same property where there is a possible business.  Mr. Burke stated that he does have about eight personal boats on his property and that he is in the marine business and works on boats at marinas in the area.

After discussion, Mr. Burke explained that he is requesting a variance of 5 feet to the North and 5 feet to the West of the existing structure.  This would allow construction of a roof over the staircase to the North and the construction of a porch to the West of the existing structure. After additional discussion, Councilman Haddox made a motion to approve. Councilman Hitzman seconded and the motion passed with all in favor.

Next, the Council heard the request to subdivide a lot owned by Bruno, Inc.  Bruno Inc.’s representative addressed the Council.  Councilman Haddox stated he does not see an issue as the property is already a 53 foot wide lot of record. After discussion, Councilman Haddox made a motion to approve.  Councilman Bouey seconded the motion.  Councilman Hitzman voted to approve while Councilmen Bounds and Doran opposed the motion. Thus, the motion passed.   


7. Amend Budget for FY2017 – Mayor Pelloat requested that Mr. Morlier address the Council regarding this topic.  Mr. Morlier explained that LA State law requires that original approved budgets must be amended when actual revenue and/or expenditures vary by 5% or more from the original approved budget.  For the fiscal year 2017 Special Revenue Fund (Sales Tax Fund), the actual expenditures varied from budgeted expenditures by 5.1% or one-tenth of one percent over the 5% threshold.  Mr. Morlier explained that the reason for the variance is that the Mabel Street project cost $30,000 more than originally budgeted. Councilman Bouey made a motion to approve the amendment to the FY2017 budget.  Councilman Doran seconded the motion.  Mr Mahon asked how many amendments were made to the original FY2017 approved budget. Mayor Pelloat stated that this is the only amendment. All were in favor and the motion passed.

8. Introduction of ordinance to amend Chapter 10, Article A, Section 10.19 Building Permits - Mr. Morlier read the proposed ordinance.  Mayor Pelloat asked if there was a motion to accept the proposed ordinance. Councilman Bouey made a motion to accept, Councilman Doran seconded the motion, the motion passed with all in favor. Mr. Bill Hughes with the St. Tammany Farmer asked about the background for the ordinance. Mayor Pelloat stated that although a prior amendment to Chapter 10 was passed, this amendment would provide for another level of review.

Mr. Chatellier expressed his concern that the ordinance did not specifically state each zoning classification.  Mayor Pelloat stated he believed the ordinance is stated sufficiently such that it applies to all zoning classifications other than single family dwellings. Mr. Mahon asked for clarification that permit requests would go first to Planning and Zoning (P&Z).  The Mayor responded “yes”.

Mr. Myron Bourg recommended that as a P&Z commissioner, it would be helpful to have neighborhood commercial buildings restricted to a certain square footage such as 7,000 square feet; otherwise, the Town will continue to have large buildings such as the proposed St. Anselm Church addition.  Councilman Doran suggested this be added to next month’s Council meeting. Mayor Pelloat stated this is a good recommendation.  He asked Mr. Chatellier to poll other municipalities.  Mr. Bourg stated that St. Tammany Parish restricted the size of the Rouse’s at the intersection of Hwy 1085 and Hwy 1077. The Council thanked Mr. Bourg for his input.  Mr. Mahon then asked why the church can’t be stopped as the sewer system and firefighting resources may not be adequate to support the church’s addition. Councilman Haddox stated that the church is being allowed because it is within ordinances. Councilman Hitzman agreed and recommended that the January 2018 committee meeting address this issue and discuss what other municipalities have.  Councilman Bouey stated that in 1976 Mayor John Frere stated in a St Tammany Farmer article that the Parish and Madisonville would not be recognizable as others would take advantage of our quality of life. Furthermore, Mayor Frere stated that the wetlands would be eliminated.

9. Monthly Department reports:


Mr. Joe Harmon stated that punch list items on the Pine Street parking project is continuing to be resolved. Mr. Harmon also stated that his company filed a capital outlay grant request for three lift stations; total cost of $579,000, state funds of $442,000, and $137,000 of matching funds.  Councilman Haddox asked about the odds of receiving the grant.  Mr. Harmon stated it is very political and therefore hard to say.  Councilman Hitzman asked when we might hear back and suggested that we reach out to legislators.  Mr. Harmon stated that we may hear back in the summer of 2018.

Police Department

Mayor Pelloat introduced Chief Mahne. Chief Mahne reported the acquisition of a new police car and that it only needed some new police specific parts to be placed into service. He stated that the Sheriff’s personnel will place decals and install equipment on the vehicle. He then stated that Alicia Watts was promoted to the police clerk position. In her position, she will answer the police phone during business hours and do additional clerical duties. He continued by saying the charging of the radar handhelds is being addressed. He then stated that Mr. Morlier and he had met with Ms. Jody Moreau of Jefferson Parish about the radar grant and that we are close to reimbursement. Ms. Moreau is the regional coordinator for the LA Commission on Law Enforcement (LCLE). He then stated that the evidence room is being organized, the Christmas program went well, the bridge was shut down due to the snow event, there were five accidents during the month, one arrest and 26 tickets. Councilman Doran asked how many speeding tickets as there are not as many complaints. Chief Mahne did not know. Councilman Hitzman stated small but important changes have had positive impacts. Chief Mahne then stated that there were challenges in filling shifts. Councilman Hitzman asked if there is someone to assist. Chief Mahne stated that he has reached out to Chief Lentz in Covington to have reserves help out. He said that the use of reserves was not addressed after the floods. Councilman Bounds commented that Councilman Doran and he met with Chief Mahne and how a miracle took place within 48 hours of Chief Mahne taking over. Councilman Doran agreed and asked about morale. Chief Mahne stated the guys are feeling better and that he would be asking the Mayor about team building sessions.

Mr. Melloncamp asked about the status of the Master Plan, the comprehensive updating of ordinances, budgeting for the expenses and how the Town would receive the best bang for its money.  Mayor Pelloat stated that those items are being worked on and would be addressed later in his comments to the Council.


Public Works Director Kyle Matthews stated that Mr. Morlier, Chief Mahne and he spoke with Ms. Heather Broussard of Mr. Larry Kinlaw’s office regarding available Federal grants for law enforcement.  Ms. Broussard will be looking for available grants, including matching amounts. Mr. Matthews then stated that Madisonville Junior High (MJH) received a grant from the Brown Foundation for tables and plants at the Town park on Pine Street. The MJH students will assist in planting. Councilman Bouey asked about the shrubbery planted the previous week. Mayor Pelloat stated those were purchased by the Town. Mr. Matthews then stated there were 215 new customers, 4,550 meters read, and an agreement signed with the management of the commercial complex on the corner of Hwy 1077 and Hwy 1085. He then said that all the injured employees have returned to work with the exception of one who has had an operation on his wrist for a broken bone. Finally, Mr. Matthews stated that the final phase of Madison Ridge will have 17 lots.

Permits Department

Mr. Jewell Chatellier reported there is one new home being built on Bordeaux Court and that all projects are on schedule. Councilman Haddox asked if prior permits must be completed before going further on a project. Mr. Chatellier stated “yes”.

Town Attorney

Mr. Danner reported that he handled the Bailey matter and saved the Town additional monies, assisted the Friends of the Cemetery, and was involved in the aftermath of the Chief’s resignation. He also stated he was involved in reports on the Tchefuncte gas ignition incident, several contracts, advertising for a new Police Chief, real estate tax redemptions, a couple of records requests, Verizon request letter for laying of cable, preparation of an ordinance, Mayor’s Court, and provided advice during regular meetings with the Mayor.

10. Comments by Council

The Councilmen wished everyone a Merry Christmas.

11. Mayor’s report to Council

Mayor Pelloat reported that contracts had been signed for the Police Retirement, recodification of ordinances, creation of employee handbook, and collection of occupational licenses, insurance premium taxes, and bad debts.

Mr. Hughes of the St. Tammany Farmer asked about the MuniCode rewrite of current ordinances and if this would require Council approval. Mr. Danner stated the project is primarily a reorganization of existing enacted ordinances.  He stated that he spoke with the Folsom Village attorney and that the Folsom attorney is pleased with the Municode work. Mr. Danner further stated that any changes to existing ordinances would have to be passed by the Town Council.

Mayor Pelloat then wished everyone a Merry Christmas.

12. Adjournment

Motion made by Councilman Haddox to adjourn, seconded by Councilman Doran, motion passed with all in favor.


Wayne C. Morlier, Town Clerk