Posted: August 3, 2018

Minutes - Public Committee Meeting on Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Approved Minutes
Town of Madisonville
403 St. Francis St.
Public Committee Meeting
Wednesday, July 25, 2018

CALL TO ORDER – Mayor Jean Pelloat
ROLL CALL – Wayne Morlier – all present except for Councilman Hitzman
Councilman Haddox arrived at 7:15pm.
PLEDGE – Councilman Doran

Committee Members:   Councilman Tim Bounds
                                      Councilman Chris Hitzman
• Madisonville Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan feasibility study.
Mayor Pelloat reported that the Town was awarded a $45,000 grant from the Regional Planning Commission (RPC) for the above study.  Mayor Pelloat stated he would reach out to the CPEX (working on the Town’s Master Plan) so they could coordinate with the RPC contractor and would incorporate the RPC study in the CPEX plan to the extent feasible. He also stated that this project is similar to one being done in Covington. Councilman Doran asked what is being considered as “Madisonville”. Mayor Pelloat stated it is the Town limits. Councilman Bounds asked if the RPC would assign the project to a firm.  Mayor Pelloat responded “yes”. 

Committee Members:   Councilman Chris Hitzman
                                      Councilman Brad Haddox
• SBA – Cell Tower Agreement
Mayor Pelloat reported that the Town received a buyout offer from SBA Communications and that he asked Mr. Danner to contact the SBA representative, Jeffrey Ostroff.  Mr. Danner reported that he spoke with Mr. Ostroff who provided excellent information including the Town shares in revenue received from three providers on the cell tower (Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile), Sprint may no longer use the cell tower, the revenue generated is approximately $12,160 per month with the Town share being $2,768, and that the buyout offer is $478,000.  Mr. Danner continued by stating the issue is whether the Town can afford to the take the lump sum and not have the monthly revenue. He also stated that it is possible to enter into a hybrid agreement where there would be a lump sum for the perpetual use of the tower as well as revenue sharing if Sprint continues to use the tower. Mr. Danner continued by stating that any lump sum used in combination with a grant matching would result in leveraging the funds. Councilman Doran suggested that the Town look into what the fair market value of the buyout would be. Mr. Danner responded that there are several variables. Mayor Pelloat stated that if the Town accepted the buyout the funds should be dedicated to grant matching, that the Finance committee and he had reached out to a knowledgeable person in the cell tower business and the individual stated the offer was very reasonable. There was continued discussion that ended with Councilman Doran being asked to look into the fair market value of any buyout.

Committee Members:  Councilman Brad Haddox
                                     Councilman Jim Bouey
• John Cerniglia – Friends Coastal Restaurant
Mayor Pelloat asked if the Council would provide better direction should Mr. Cerniglia approach him.  After much discussion regarding other uses of the building and parking lot, height limitation and rezoning of the parking lot, the consensus was that a height variance would not be approved and rezoning the parking lot to C-1 (Commercial) would be acceptable. Councilman Bounds stated that the Town needs to take some action to move forward and put the building and lot in use so the Town can receive revenue. Mayor Pelloat emphasized that he received the thoughts that rezoning the parking lot to C-1 and approving a small variance of 5 parking spaces would not be a major issue. There was additional discussion with Councilman Doran being asked to work with Investar Bank to request concessions such that the building can again become revenue generating.
• Review plans for town buildings;
1. Town Hall
2. Fire Dept.
3. Present Police Station
Mayor Pelloat asked for Council direction regarding the future location of the Police Department given the existing Town buildings, including the vacant old Fire Station building. He stated both the old Fire Station and existing Police Department buildings need work. Councilman Haddox stated that although he likes where the Police Department is presently located, it does make sense to relocate the department if the old library building can qualify for an antiquity grant. Mayor Pelloat stated that the remodeling of the old library and Fire Station buildings is dependent on where the Police Department is located and that he would also ask for direction of a design/layout for the Police Department as moving the police clerk to the Police Department is being considered. There was much discussion of options with the final direction being to move the Police Department to the old Fire Station.

Committee Members: Councilman Kevin Doran
                                    Councilman Tim Bounds

• Replace/Rewrite Ordinance No. 105- Chapter 9, Traffic and Criminal Regulations
Mayor Pelloat stated he had asked Mr. Danner to rewrite the above ordinance. Mr. Danner asked the Municode contact for thoughts and received feedback that indicated although the present direction of the ordinance is acceptable, Municode suggested a better way to write the ordinance. Therefore, Mr. Danner recommended that the Council wait on considering the revised ordinance until the Town receives Municode’s proposed ordinance. All present agreed.
Other discussions:

Councilman Haddox asked for a CPEX update. Mayor Pelloat stated that CPEX completed the stakeholder interviews on July 12th and 13th, held the first advisory committee meeting on July 13th, and provided future dates of meetings, including the next advisory committee meeting on August 23rd.  Mr. Louis Ogle added that there will be a community meeting with CPEX on August 29th and that in October, CPEX will conduct a Community Design Charrette with the focus being on the riverfront, end of Lake Road, Maritime Museum, Library and Town Park.  Mr. Ogle also stated that CPEX provided a short review of what they heard in the interviews: walkability, bike friendly, and view of geographic downtown Madisonville by street. Mr. Ogle stated it would help to have the zoning map available. Councilman Haddox asked to be updated weekly so he could adequately respond to constituent questions.  Councilman Doran asked if Councilmen Hitzman or Bounds was unable to make an advisory committee meeting, could another Councilman make the meeting. Councilman Bounds asked if the Council could receive the CPEX meeting minutes. Mayor Pelloat responded that he would speak with CPEX regarding these questions and update the Council.

Mayor Pelloat asked Mr. Danner to speak with the Council regarding the Baham situation. Mr. Danner provided relevant dates and a timeline regarding the situation including prior to and after the existing Mayor and Council took office. In summary, Mr. Danner read a letter from the Town’s prior legal counsel who recommended that the Town not make payment as the Town was never served regarding the lawsuit, that the case had prescribed, and that the Town Mayor and Council could be criticized by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor for making payment when payment is not due.  All present accepted Mr. Danner’s explanation as justification for the Town’s decision to not make payment. 

Public Comment Period:  members of the audience will have three (3) minutes to make a statement or express a concern.  (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).

There were no comments from the audience.

Motion to adjourn made by Councilman Bouey, seconded by Councilman Bounds, motion passed with all in favor.

Wayne C. Morlier, Town Clerk