Not only was the monthly meeting for the City of Bastrop Board of Aldermen held Thursday, Feb. 8, but also a special-called Bastrop Sales Tax District No. 1.
The Sales Tax District meeting was the second in as many weeks to discuss the purchase of a Kasi infrared three ton patriot truck and asphalt equipment, which, according to Mayor Henry Cotton, is the best way to fix potholes in the city streets without having to redo every couple of months. The machine costs $196,000 and will be paid through collected sales tax that are designated strictly for road repair. The machine will be leased on a year-to-year basis and should cut the costs of road repair and maintenance.
Much discussion was had about the purchase and the possibility of it’s cost placing the City in a position of that account being in the negative. The tax brings in about $77,000 a month - enough money to service the repayment of a five million dollar loan taken out to cover road repairs plus, according to Mayor Cotton, the cost of the lease. Alderman Robert Shaw asked the Mayor if he could guarantee the city would not default on the loan and the Mayor said he could. Shaw then said he would make a motion to lease the equipment under the stipulation that Mayor Cotton cease running down the Bastrop-Morehouse Chamber of Commerce on on social media. The motion carried and the Mayor promised “he would work night and day” to get the equipment here as soon as possible.
Back in the regular meeting, it was approved to repair the sewer main for Cleveland and Cox streets for the street overlay program, as these streets have the sewer running down the middle of them and must be repaired before work can continue.
Morehouse Parish School Board member Rose Thompson also spoke at the meeting, asking the Mayor once again to tend to the business of the City and stay out of the business of the School Board. A heated exchange between the two ensued because of the Mayor’s repeated accusation that the school board banned him from Bastrop High School and teaching an ACT class, causing scores to fall.
Thompson asked that Mayor Cotton focus on the crime rate and let the school board focus on education.
Instead of allowing Thompson to speak, Mayor Cotton continued to argue with everything she stated, turning what should have been a five minute comment into a 30 minute shouting match, with nothing being accomplished.