Morgan City Councilmen discuss city’s future
MORGAN CITY, La. — Building new residential developments, working to get a new power plant to come to the city and continuing to focus on attracting visitors to Lake End Park are three major things Morgan City city council members would like to see happen during their new terms.
Councilman and newly-appointed mayor pro-tem Louis Tamporello of District 5 said one of the big challenges for the city is the new subdivision being developed at the end of Brashear Avenue behind David Drive that has been delayed due to issues with getting the city’s levees certified.
“We want to get the new subdivision open,” Tamporello said. The city’s levees have to be certified and approved with FEMA, which has stated the city’s levees need to be raised. “We feel that we have adequate levees,” Tamporello said, which is a sentiment former Mayor Tim Matte has expressed at council meetings.
Councilman Tim Hymel of District 1 also wants to see “more residential development” citing the development on Hellenic Inc. property, which Tamporello referred to, as a major development for the city, Hymel said.
Tamporello also mentioned the proposed new power plant in Morgan City as something else the council is working toward, he said.
“I think that’s (new power plant) a huge asset for Morgan City,” said first-term Councilman James Fontenot of District 4. Fontenot wants to learn more about the budget issues the city is facing as a new councilman, he said.
The council passed a resolution of support at its September meeting for the Louisiana Energy and Power Authority’s proposed project to build a new power plant in Morgan City that would serve 10 cities.
Councilman Ron Bias of District 3 said the city’s “economy overall” is important to him. The city needs to have “decent places to live” and job opportunities, otherwise “people won’t migrate to the community,” he said.
The city also needs to have affordable places to live and to crack down on “slum lording” not allowing landlords to let their residential properties to become run-down, Bias said. He wants to see roadwork on the industrial road completed in order to get the “oilfield waste trucks out of the community,” he said.
Council members and the mayor have agreed to work together for the city, Tamporello said.
“I believe we will always agree to work for the betterment of the community,” Bias said, even though council members will not always agree on certain issues.
First-term Councilman Barry Dufrene of District 2 said, as a new councilman, a couple people he knows advised him “to just sit back for the first six months” and listen and learn from others on the council, he said.
Dufrene said the council needs to continue to look at the proposed zoning changes. He also encouraged people in the city “to do things that don’t cost anything” to make the city nicer, such as picking up trash and not leaving dumpsters right next to the road.
Regarding the proposed zoning changes, Tamporello said, “We can’t change the entire city” and for the proposed recreational vehicle parking ordinance, it is a hardship for some people to find alternative places to park their boats or other vehicles, he said.
However, he said, “It’s time to start enforcing the ordinances we have on the books.”
“We need to find ways to get businesses to stay in the area,” Dufrene said. The city should work to promote living within the city, he said. “There’s too many people that work here who don’t live here,” he said. “I just can’t think of anywhere else I’d want to live.”
Hymel said, “We want to see the city grow in population.”
Bias said the city should start looking at building a recreation center “to be used by all citizens.”
Council members also talked about Lake End Park, the lake houses that have been built and are in the planning stages of being built and Lake Palourde as being important to the city’s economy.
“We want to continue our push at the lake,” Hymel said.
The lake houses are “a very big priority,” Tamporello said. Both Tamporello and Hymel talked about the recent cooperative endeavor agreement Matte signed with state Sen. Bret Allain, R-Jeanerette, to receive $1 million in state capital outlay money to build four more lake houses at Lake End Parkway. Tamporello hopes the city keeps building more lake houses, he said.
Though Hymel hopes the city will never face a disaster like the June 2012 Joseph Cefalu Power Plant transformer explosion, fire and power outage, with the new breaker planned to be installed in front of the new transformer in addition to a backup transformer at a separate site, the city should only experience a couple-hour power outage instead of a 48-hour power outage if such an incident were to happen again, he said.