Council approves sale of Garan property
Claudette Olivier / Church Point News
“Exciting “— that’s the word Mayor Ryan “Spanky” Meche used to describe the town council agenda item to approve the sale of the Garan property, which has been for sale for more than two decades.
Town Attorney Brad Andrus said, “It must be stated on the record that the sale is below fair market value because it has been for sale for 25 years. It’s costing the town a fortune for insurance and everything else (grass upkeep, water and electricity).”
Meche said, “It was listed at $324,000, and they offered $200,000, which is below my appraisal price, but like he (Andrus) said, we’re sending crews out there to cut the grass, we’re sending crews out there to do maintenance. This is the first time we’ve been offered a substantial amount of money for it.
“It’s (the potential buyer) a corporation, I’m hearing. They should bring 40 to 60 employees.”
A crowd member asked who the buyer is, and Meche said it is anonymous.
The council unanimously approved the motion to sell the Garan property and building for $200,000 and allow the mayor signing authority at the regular meeting on June 3.
Church Point Police Chief Dale Thibodeaux said in May, the police department had 275 calls for service and wrote 211 traffic citations, 65 of which were part of the Click It Or Ticket campaign; issued 24 criminal citations; made 24 arrests; made 13 traffic arrests for driving under suspension; patrolled 8,264 miles; recovered 23 bench warrants; recovered $8,397.50 in bench warrant revenues; two bench warrants were reset, two did community service and two did time served and made 15 narcotics arrests. Thibodeaux informed the council that all of the police department units have been outfitted with GPS systems so that he may monitor each unit’s whereabouts. Thibodeaux said that several reserve officers also assisted with patrolling in the Town of Ville Platte, in Evangeline Parish, following a tornado that a struck the town on May 19.
The council unanimously approved Thibodeaux’s recommendation to move a reserve officer to the position of a full time officer following the resignation of a full time officer, a recommendation to add two reserve officers and a disciplinary action/executive session.
Following the executive session, Thibodeaux said, “I want to let everyone know, I am reprimanding an officer, and I am reprimanding that officer as myself. I have spoken with our town attorney to see if I could actually suspend myself, and he told me, by law, I cannot suspend myself, but I will be doing a written reprimand on myself in my personnel file because I don’t expect my officers to follow something that I don’t follow. We follow together or not at all.
“I made an arrest on Main Street. It was drug arrest. There was female involved. I did not follow policy and procedure and search that female because she was a female. I had another unit bring her to the station, and when we got to the station, she had a pistol, a .380 automatic, in the small of her back, which is a violation of policy and procedure by not searching her. I let my better judgement get the best of me by not searching her, thinking I didn’t have my camera with me and I didn’t want her to say I touched her inappropriately, which is wrong.”
Thibodeaux said he wanted to let the council and the town know he is not above the law, not above his officers and that the same policy and procedures they follow, he must also follow. Thibodeaux said that he did not have his body camera on him at the time because he had left the station and was not going to make traffic stops when he left the station.
Mitch Andrus, President of Church Point Community Development, presented Thibodeaux with a check for $1,000 to purchase to third set of new uniforms for the department’s officers. Thibodeaux and Meche thanked Andrus for the donation.
Pam Granger gave her Engineering Report during the meeting. Granger said the contractor for the upcoming Community Development Block Grant project planned to mobilize this week, and smoke testing will be conducted in town. She also said work is continuing on a CDBG application to make repairs to the town’s sewer system.
Mitch Andrus with Royal Engineering gave a report on the town boundary project.
Andrus said, “We asked for approval of $7,500 about three months ago to look into the town boundary. There are three or four different versions of it floating around. What we set out to do was verify the existing town boundaries with either ordinances or resolutions or annexation actions in the past.”
Andrus said information is being gathered from the parish’s tax assessor’s office, by an abstractor at the Acadia Parish Courthouse and from town ordinances or resolutions or annexation actions in the past. The completed map will be presented at next month’s council meeting.
During the meeting, the council considered the adoption of a proposed ordinance to amend section 218-C.2 in regards to sick leave and the adoption of a proposed ordinance to amend section 218-H and replace with a one year accumulation statute. The council unanimously approved an ordinance of one to five years of work, seven working days of sick time and six years and over of work, 10 working days of sick time with no accrual for either. Thibodeaux requested permission to create a sick leave policy for the police department. The council also unanimously approved that motion.
The meeting agenda also included time for the owners of condemned and demolished structures located at 238 E. Minnix, 115 Green Alley, 329 N Main to make comments, and no comments were made.
In his Mayor’s Report, Meche said the town’s baseball season is going well, and financially, the town is also doing well.
The following items were also unanimously approved during the meeting:
• Consider revision of agenda if needed. Revisions were: Introduction to change the name from a Board of Aldermen to a Town Council and members of the council will be councilmen or councilwoman and wards will become districts; parking fines to a more reasonable rate; and the Corporation Street emergency fix of a culvert that gave way on the street.
• Introduction of an ordinance to change the name from a Board of Aldermen to a Town Council and members of the council will be councilmen or councilwoman and wards will become districts
• Introduction of an ordinance of $25 parking tickets.
• Corporation Street emergency fix of a culvert that gave way on the street.
• Approval of previous minutes.
• Approval of April 2019 financial reports.
• Fire Rating Testing And Reimbursement Proposal.
• Approval of long-term $100,000 CD with water deposits.
• Approval of cashing-out and relocation of Farmers CD of $2,912.89 into general fund.
• Relocation of approximately $65,000 in Rayne State Bank CDs to an interest rate higher than the current 0.10 percent.
• Resolution for pay-off/redemption of Utilities Revenue Refunding Bond Series 2012.
• Amendment of $36,632.00 to Utility Fund to correct 2018 CWEF grant revenue amount.
•Approval of $15,000 expenditure to fix section of Wimberly Road.
• Approval of $16,000 match in partnership with drainage board for McMillian/Horecky/Roger Street canal project.
• Approval of 1.43 acre purchase for $8,000 on North Kelly area to fix flooding in neighborhood.
• Declare surplus 2009 Impala from police department.
• Approval of liquor license exemption for Hometown Warriors benefit for Holly Barrouse to be held on August 3 at Church Point City Park Pavilion.
• Consider adoption of an ordinance adopting State Statute 30:2544 entitled Litter-Free Zones; Temporary Signs, Handbills, Flyers And Notices; Notice To Remove; Penalties.
• Introduction amending section #020518 of the Church Point Code of Ordinances to add ordinance notice placement on stakes on properties violating the long grass ordinance.
• Consider adoption of a proposed ordinance to add a three-way stop sign at MLK and Wilson at Centennial Village.
• Consider adoption of an ordinance amending the occupational license ordinance for the Town of Church Point.
• Consider adoption an ordinance amending the alcohol ordinance for the Town of Church Point.
The council unanimously approved the tabling of the following items:
• Discussion on Community Center/Park Pavilion/Depot Park Rental And Rates.
The following item failed for lack of a motion: Discussion of a proposed ordinance in order to designate a formal process that will be used by the town to determine whether speed limits on town streets will be increased or decreased.