The Daily Review/Bill Decker
Tuesday's Morgan City Council meeting was held in the lobby of Morgan City Municipal Auditorium to accommodate social distancing. Shown from left are councilmen Steve Domangue, Ron Bias, Mark Stephens and Tim Hymel.
Scouts from Troop 49 in Morgan City lead the Pledge of Allegiance at Tuesday's City Council meeting. Shown are Cole Perez, Grant Adams, Zavier Prince and Brody Champagne. Present but not pictured are Colleen Perez and Jaydyen Prevost.
Morgan City has new Mardi Gras parade
Morgan City has a new Mardi Gras parade and a new audit report with good marks.
The City Council also set the city property tax rate for this year.
The council handled all that business Tuesday at Morgan City Municipal Auditorium, where its monthly meetings have been moved from the city courtroom to accommodate social distancing.
The council approved plans for a parade on the Monday before Mardi Gras by the new Krewe of Hera, named for the boss goddess and wife of Zeus in Greek mythology.
The krewe, now in its first year, has about 80 members, according to board member Stacie Simmons.
The parade will start at Second Street, moving to Sixth, Marguerite, Ninth, Clothilde and Victor II and then on to Municipal Auditorium. The Krewe of Hera also plans a Mardi Gras ball.
The council approved a permit for the parade.
The audit report was presented by Gerald Thibodeaux of Kolder Champagne Slaven and Co.
After three years of dipping into its reserve to balance the budget, the city government now has had surpluses of $1.3 million in 2018 and $460,000 in 2019, Thibodeaux said.
The audit found nothing to criticize in the city’s internal management controls. Thibodeaux pointed to what he presented as minor difficulties with the way the city handled the bookkeeping for $900,000 from parish government, portions of which were spent in two different years; and in pension accounting requirements that Thibodeaux said are stricter than anything the city is likely to encounter.
The standard is for governments to have enough reserves to cover spending for one to two months. Morgan City’s reserve is enough to cover 52 days, Thibodeaux said.
Also Tuesday, the council voted to set the city general property tax rate at 16.07 mills.
This is a reassessment year, and the city learned that its assessed valuation has decreased $10 million to $127 million since 2016.
A mill is a 1/10th cent of tax on each $1 of assessed valuation. The assessed valuation of residential property is set by law at 10% of the market value as determined by the parish assessor.
The 16.07 mills on a $100,000 home would cost the homeowner $160.70 in city taxes. Louisiana’s homestead exemption does not apply to city taxes.
Mayor Frank “Boo” Grizzaffi noted that a 2-mill tax renewal for Municipal Auditorium operations is on the Aug. 15 ballot.
Another tax on the ballot, a 0.45% sales tax increase for public school staff raises, has proven to be more controversial.
“We don’t want to get the no vote sitting next to it,” Grizzaffi said.
—The council passed a resolution asking the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development to conduct a study of the intersection of the Brashear Avenue down ramp and La. 70 “and the possibility of rerouting La. 70 to eliminate this intersection completely to make this intersection safer for those traveling in this area.”
—The council passed a resolution to allow the South Central Planning & Development Commission to apply for a DOTD grant for improvements at bike and pedestrian crossings at La. 182’s intersections with Myrtle Street, Federal Avenue and Roderick Street.