Morgan City approves upgrade of computer systems

MORGAN CITY — Despite the explosion that happened shortly before the meeting was scheduled to start and the ensuing fire that was visible from the parking lot of the City Court building, the city council held its monthly meeting Tuesday night as firefighters fought the fire.

The council voted unanimously to approve finance committee recommendations from last week to spend $415,000 on the purchase of new hardware and software for the city.

“We have a system that’s 29 years old,” District 4 councilman Luke Manfre said. “The hardware and software have to catch up with each other.”

He said that new hardware and software from New World Systems “will allow online bill paying, and it’s going to bring us into the 21st Century as far as utilities are concerned. It’s really been a problem with backup and having to shut down certain systems to run other systems.”

District 2 councilman Larry Bergeron also supported the new system.

“We’ve talked about this for over two years now,” he said. “It’s very awkward when you have the utility system that has to get off the system because payroll needs it or accounting needs it. It’s time to make this big change.”

In other business, the city’s external audit for 2011 came back clean. Gerald Thibodeaux with Kolder Champagne Slaven and Co. LLC presented the results to the council. There were no findings.

Total assets for the city for 2011 are $114.6 million with $96.1 million of that number being capital assets net of accumulated depreciation. Total liabilities are $17.9 million, of which $11.6 million are bonds payable.

Total net assets were $96.6 million on Dec. 31, compared to $98.5 million at the beginning of 2011.

The council voted to award to Barriere Construction Co. of Metairie the contract to do the roadway repairs and improvements on Federal Avenue, which is Phase IV of the city’s roadway improvements. The contract is valued at $544,532.

Concrete replacement on Victor II Boulevard near Brashear is expected to commence July 9.

Mayor Tim Matte reported the Independence Day fireworks being held in conjunction with the Waves of Thunder boat racing event to be held by the Morgan City Powerboat Association.

“On Saturday, they’ll race all day, have a band and some other activities extending into the evening, and it’ll culminate with fireworks on Lake Palourde,” Matte said.

In other news, Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program will again hold La Fête d’Ecologie festival at Lake End Park. Matte said that BTNEP wanted a September date again, but that it conflicted with other activities at Lake End Park at that time, and that the city suggested a fall date.

“It was a real nice event that we had. We had a lot of participation,” Matte said. “Folks came in by the busload, and I think a good time was had by all. They enjoyed it so much, they want to come back again.”

This year’s La Fête d’Ecologie will be Nov. 10 at Lake End Park.

In other business, city finance director Deborah Garber reported the city’s finances for the month of May.

“In our general and ancillary funds, our actual total revenues exceed budget by about $230,300, up from about $190,000 last month,” she said. “Our operating expenses are below budget by about $72,600. So, our net income after transfers from about $184,700 creates a favorable variance of about $303,000,” Garber said. “Our revenues were under budget, and our sales taxes were over budget.”

When the meeting adjourned, the mayor and some other city leaders walked over to address the situation with the burned transformer and the electrical outage.

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