The city council convened Thursday night in the courtroom at City Hall. Sonny Nason was the only council member not in attendance.
The mayor made a few short announcements regarding the continuing renovations on the City Hall building. She said the Louisiana State Seal will be added to the outside of the building and she is looking into new security systems. The city's website is undergoing an overhaul and a page will be added to the site to recognize former mayors of Bastrop.
Mayor Olive spoke about the Miracle Memory Fund, which she began as a way to give back to the community in the memory of her mother. She announced that she had dispersed the remaining funds to the Relay for Life, Circle of Hope and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.
In 2006,the city took out a loan of 1.5 million to improve water lines and road access so that the super Wal-Mart could be built. The city has paid $900,000 on the loan and has netted, on an annual basis, over $800,000 in additional sales tax.
Steve Nosacka of Trinity Capital Resources spoke with the board regarding this investment and the possibilty of lowering the interest rate.
“[The infrastructure was] an investment the city made that made the city money,” said Nosacka.
The city is now looking into refinancing the remainder of the loan in order to take advantage of lower interest rates.
Nosacka told the council that they would save about $34,000 in interest payments by refinancing the loan; after a bid process in which Capital One won, the interest will go from five percent to below four percent
“Every cent counts when you’re in a strapped economy with a strapped budget,” said Mayor Olive. The motion carried.
Roanita Jenkins from Insurance Agency, LLC reviewed the health insurance plan. On July 1, the city will have to renew their dental, vision, and health care plans. Dental and vision will remain the same. Health care will have a seven percent increase but because of more competition, they have received better rates than last year’s 24 percent increase. The motion carried.
The city was asked to approve a zoning application for south point homes residential housing development. The motion carried.
East Madison Park Pool
The Board of Alderman had asked for a projected cost to have the pool at East Madison Park open this summer. Special Projects Coordinator Willie McKee presented them with an analysis of the costs.
"The startup cost to open the pool would be approximately $21,000," McKee stated. "Part of that would go towards making handicap accessible upgrades."
The analysis showed it would take approximately $25, 200 for the operation costs, including staffing. This amount was based on having the pool open for six week. The total cost to the city to operate the pool would be $46,300.
Alderman Roy Armstrong recommended shortening the length of time the pool would be open from six weeks to four weeks,opening the pool on July 1.
“Keep in mind that this may come at the expense of something else because this is an unbudgeted item,” Mayor Olive said.
The motion carried with Aldermen Marvin Moore, Roy Armstrong and Lee Loche voting for and Obbie Johnson voting against.
Public Works Director
Mayor Olive introduced Barry Johnson, who has been working in the capacity of Public Works Director for several months and has been an employee of the City for 24 years, and it was unanimously approved for him to be appointed as the director.
Morehouse Economic Development Director Kay King gave an update on the progress of the Drax Bio Mass Plant, which is not inside the city limits of Bastrop, but is an important piece of economic development for the city. She stated the plant will possibility begin start-up within the next 30 days and representatives were already in the area, looking at housing.
"The project will require 200 construction workers and take 18 weeks to finish," King said. "This is good for our economy, as the workers will be staying in Morehouse Parish and spending money here, which will help generate a lot of sales tax."
Marcia Cook with The American Legion asked for permission to sell poppies on the square on May 25. The members of the Legion have done this for years and Cook asked to continue the tradition.
She spoke about the meaning of the poppy sales and what the generated money would be used for.
"All monies collected during this sale will be used for service men and women in our area," Cook stated.
The poppies are red crepe paper shaped by hand by disabled veterans. The square workers will be volunteers. The motion carried.