Mayor Robert Rose and city council members reiterated their support for Fort Polk, and requested the public write letters. The city website has sample letters and detailed information at www.leesvillela.gov.
Courtney Christian, Leesville City Administrator, presented the employee of the month award to Richard Hicks of the Public Works Department at the Feb. 25 council meeting. A resolution was approved to apply for funds through the Louisiana DOTD "Safe Routes to School" program for the City of Leesville. Sidewalks will connect public schools in the city when the project is complete. The goals of the program are to encourage children to walk or ride bicycles to school, and to make their trip safer. Council members approved a resolution to hire Jeff Kudla, AIA, Architect, LLC to provide plans and specifications for the State School revamping. The mayor said Kudla suggested phased construction. There will be no change of usage on the first floor offices. After plans are drawn, a meeting will be scheduled with the chief architect with the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal. The project will be submitted piece by piece to minimize the cost of renovation. A 1.8 acre of surplus property located at Lot 5 in the Timberway Subdivision will be advertised for sale. The property is adjacent to the city park and golf course on a cul de sac. The agenda was modified to allow the council to add two resolutions recently adopted by the Vernon Parish Police Jury. The first resolution concerns objection to the "false and erroneous information" in the Department of the Army's Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA), a call for revision and correction of the information, support of Fort Polk, and a call for the public to become involved if they have not done so already. The second resolution concerns the proposed sequestration's negative impact, and a request to Congress to "do their job." The third resolution added allows the Town of New Llano to contract Leesville's wastewater treatment operator to help out until they have hired an employee to do so. An ordinance to adopt a false alarm policy was introduced. The fire department and the police department will impose fines will fines on property owners for false alarms, which are costly to the city. The Leesville Fire Department fines are as follows: no fee for the the first three false alarms in 12 consecutive months, $100 for fourth false alarm, $200 for fifth false alarm, $300 for sixth and more false alarms. The Leesville Police Department fines are as follows: no fee for the first false alarm in any consecutive 30 day period, $25 for the second, $50 for the third, $100 for the fourth and subsequent false alarms, $200 for the eighth and subsequent false alarms. An ordinance to update taxi permit regulations in the city limits was introduced. The last ordinance introduced is to authorize the mayor signing an electrical and lighting contract for the traffic circle with Statewide Electrical Contractors, Inc. An ordinance to allow the city of Leesville to provide water to New Llano was approved, with the exception of Councilman Mike Elliott. Elliott said it was not fair to allow New Llano to pay a rate lower than Leesville commercial customers. City engineer Vernon Meyer reported plans addressing water system leaks have been submitted to the USDA for approval. The project will be paid for using surplus revenue bonds approved by the bond commission. Meyer said a survey is in progress for the water system project in the Market Basket area, at Hwys 28 and 171. He is waiting on final approval for the North Industrial Park project, to be paid for with grant funding. Olivia McKee, of the Leesville Mayor's Women's Commission, discussed the Spring Trash Bash. It will be at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 23 at Liberty Garden, next to the library. Youth groups are encouraged to compete for prizes: $100 first place, $75 second place, and $50 third place. They must be accompanied by an adult sponsor. McKee said chili dogs will be served for lunch, and prizes will be awarded before the event ends around noon. Mayor Robert Rose and city council members reiterated their support for Fort Polk, and requested the public write letters. The city website has sample letters and detailed information at www.leesvillela.gov. Councilwoman Pat Martinez said a troop reduction at Fort Polk would be devastating, and the community would also lose military retirees. Sam Kincade, Main Street Manager, said local merchants have been proactive, and have letters available in stores for the public to pick up, sign, and mail. A public hearing on the introduced ordinances will be held before the next council meeting on Monday, March 11. The meeting will be at 3 p.m., the public hearing will be at 2:30 p.m.