BOSSIER CITY, La. – Three proposals that would have tied the hands of the incoming Bossier City administration were put on hold Tuesday after a councilman questioned timing of the measures.
Removed from consideration at the council meeting were proposals to extend the contract of Manchac Consulting Group for five years, designate Manchac employee Todd Thompson as head of the city’s Public Works Department and appropriate $30 million to construct a recreation center and senior center. Councilman David Montgomery sponsored the recreational center proposal, while city attorney Jimmy Hall signed off as sponsor of the Manchac proposals.
The items, if approved, would have shut out incoming Mayor-elect Tommy Chandler and council members Shane Cheatham, Chris Smith and Vince Maggio from having any input on matters that come with considerable long-term expense.
But Councilman Don “Bubba” Williams shut down the issues at the start of the meeting when he questioned why they were on the agenda when there had not been any prior talk by council members. His motion to delete the items from the agenda was immediately seconded by Councilman Jeffery Darby.
Council President David Montgomery asked Williams if he would consider introducing the ordinance then talking about it. “No,” said Williams.
Williams said the council discussed the recreation center about two years ago, but he’s not seen anything recently from the administration about it, including who would run it and if operations would be contracted out. Two years ago, Williams added, there didn’t appear to be enough interested membership to sustain such a project. And additional money was still needed for furniture and fixtures.
Councilman Tim Larkin, who was defeated in the recent election, said he wanted to talk about the proposal rather than put it off. He also said he wanted to hear from anyone who supported or opposed the idea.
Joining Williams in voting in favor of delaying consideration were Darby, Jeff Free and Thomas Harvey. Voting against were Montgomery, Larkin and Scott Irwin.
After the meeting, Williams told KTBS, “Sometimes we get things on the agenda and nobody’s even talked to us about it. Put things like this … and we don’t know anything about it. … But when does their contract expire? I don’t even know that. Why are we doing it now was another question.”
Chandler, who takes office July 1, said he was pleased with the outcome. “I’m glad they postponed them for right now,” he said.
Cheatham also approved of the vote.
“I was glad to see them delete items off the agenda this afternoon. One of the items concerning to me was the public works director,” Cheatham said. “Typically, that is the incoming mayor’s job to appoint that position. … This particular contract would have appointed Manchac and their appointees to be there for the next five years. And I believe the new mayor and administration should have a voice in that.”
In other matters, the council:
- Approved a zoning change at Airline Drive and Wemple Road to clear the way for construction of a Brookshire’s Grocery store.
- Unanimously introduced an ordinance to annex 258 acres into the city.
- Temporarily reduced through June the fees associated with ASM Global’s management of the Brookshire Grocery Arena and enter into a five-year contract.
- Declared an emergency existed in February with the snow storm and approved the $1.3 million in expenses associated with it.
- Added $1 million to the $2.1 million appropriated for construction of a new fire station in the East Bank District.