Leesville City Council voted today to allow the City to enter into a contract with Fort Polk worth just under $2.6 million.

Council first voted upon a resolution authorizing Mayor (Rick Allen) to sign a lease-purchase agreement with Business First Bank of Lake Charles.

Council then approved a second resolution “authorizing the Mayor to execute an Intergovernmental Support Agreement by and between the City of Leesville and the United States Army Garrison – Polk for the purpose of providing grass cutting services.”

Allen then signed the contract later in the evening at 6 p.m. This contract establishes a mutually beneficial partnership between the City of Leesville and Fort Polk.

“This venture is separate from the City’s Public Works Department. We will be hiring new leadership who will report directly to Patti Larney (city administrator),” Allen said. “These employees will be cutting grass inside Fort Polk and the range, maintaining about 5000 acres.”

Allen expects this venture to create about 50 jobs.

All councilmembers conveyed their support and enthusiasm about the partnership agreement.

Councilman Chris Robertson said this is a huge step for the City of Leesville and for Fort Polk. “This is something new and you never know if something’s going to work until you step out of the box. We are stepping out of the box,” he said.

Mike Reese of Fort Polk Progress thanked Allen and the Council for embracing this kind of out of the box thinking.

“Now soldiers can focus on the mission… to train and win our nation’s wars instead of mowing grass,” Reese said. “That’s the win-win. The city has the opportunity to help to soldiers focus on training and their mission. And it gives the city an opportunity for a new revenue stream – to reinvest in the city.”

Reese said this partnership also makes Fort Polk more competitive. “Arrangements like this... help Fort Polk manage its cost to be a more efficient installation,” he said. “It helps us keep missions that we have today and secure missions in the future.”

Allen thanked council for their support in this venture. “This is the first of many,” he said.