Patterson council ponders blighted property rules

PATTERSON — Citizens brought their concerns about blighted property to the City Council during its monthly meeting Tuesday.
“We are going to tackle this, but we are going to tackle this correctly,” said Mayor Rodney Grogan. “In the past we were allowed to cut grass and so forth and put it on the (unpaid) taxes. That is against the law now.”
Grogan said the council will now have to do requests for proposals and have local contractors bid for the work once a property is declared to be blighted.
“We cannot put our city workers on private property. We can no longer step on private property,” Grogan said.
Nelvin Coleman said that she is frustrated after complaining about her neighbor leaving trash in his yard.
“I have called the police, I have called Ryan (Aucoin of Planning & Zoning) and I have called (Mayor) Grogan. It is disgusting to go out my house and look at the same thing,” Coleman said. “Something needs to be done about it. I’m not moving, and I’m not putting a fence up.”
“Blighted property is different from your neighbor conducting activity that is objectionable to you,” said city attorney Russel Cremaldi. “Not every problem that a person has with their neighbor is a problem that the city can address.”
Cremaldi said that the city can only step in if a person is conducting activity that is against city ordinances.
Grogan said that the council may put a committee together to look over the blighted laws and get with CivicSource to see what would be the next step for concerned citizens and the city.
“I’m the mayor. I’m not enforcement. Council makes the laws, but we don’t enforce the law,” said Grogan.
In other action, the council voted to revamp the Atchafalaya Chats publication on a quarterly basis after addressing citizens’ concerns during open discussion. Grogan said that the publication was cut due to lack of funding.
“I have had people say that they were reading it,” said council member Sandra Turner. “I have heard of a lot of compliments that (the publication) keep people informed.”
City accountant Reginald Weary estimated a new edition every two months costs $1,200.
“With a monthly publication, a lot of stuff was being brought up and repeated just to fill a void,” said councilmember John Rentrop in support of having the publication being printed twice a year like other municipalities in the parish.
Council member Larry Mendoza suggested a quarterly publication as a compromise in which the council agreed.
In other council news,
—Resolutions were given for Tyra Yarber, a past president of the Teche Theatre for the Performing Arts, and Harold Gobert, one of Patterson’s oldest citizens, to mark their passing.
—The council encouraged its citizens to participate in Red Ribbon Drug-Free Week as the mayor read a proclamation for the city supporting the parishwide campaign on Oct. 20-29.
—The council approved the permit for the parade for the 12U Babe Ruth World Series champions.

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