Council receives bid for museum renovations

Peter Silas Pasqua

The City Council received a bid for renovations to the Central Agricultural Schoolhouse, which will house the River Road African American Museum.

Ram Plumbing and Development of Terrytown submitted the bid in the amount of $700,000, nearly $250,000 over expected.

Upon the price, Councilman Charles Brown asked that the bid be reopened.

An unidentified spokesperson told the council at its regular meeting Tuesday that the corporation has did jobs for Spectrum Design, the architect, in the past.

"The check was not in the envelope," the spokesperson said. "Now it is public knowledge."

City Attorney Chuck Long said the architect must be present for the contract to be approved and asked that the item be placed on the next meeting's agenda. 

In another matter the council ordered the demolition of Irene Crochet's trailer on Bayou Road.

Crochet requested and was granted a demolition permit but asked if it could be withdrawn after plans to renovate the trailer arose.

"I own the trailer, not the land," Crochet said.

Long said documents by the city code enforcement officer should be presented to prevent lawsuits.

"I don't think it was done in this case," Long said. "Somebody needs to depart with that to me."

In more news, the council entered into an intergovernmental agreement with the Downtown Development District concerning the city's property on Charles Street that used to house the Department of Motor Vehicles at the request of executive director John Rodgers.

Historic District Commission chairman Liz Eure asked the city to donate the building to the DDD because the city is ineligible for tax credits.

Eure also said a meeting needs to be set up with the owners of the Brazier Drugstore Building. Rodgers said the city needs to make the initiative to buy the building.

Rodgers also introduced his intern Dora Landry.

In another matter, the council got an update on the Rondinaud Lane Sewage repair project in the amount of $9,000 by city engineer Glenn Shaheen.

"We observed the videotape," Shaheen said. "These are probably discussions we should have in a private setting."

Long asked if the line is usable and what problems could the city occur. Shaheen said the line is satisfactorily sound according to his engineering opinion.

"We are not giving the nine till you do the line," Long said.

In more news, the council approved resolutions adopting Charter Committee recommendations and calling for an election amending the Home Rule Charter. 

"There will be a few adjustments to the wording," Long said.

The council also did not act on Sheila Wilson's request to use the Lemann Center for a driving education office.

Also concerning the Lemann Center, the council learned that the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office has a hard time filling deputies for security at functions held there.

"We don't want to be the agency that says you can't rent the Lemann Center," said Major Bobby Webre. 

"Why should any function need six armed deputies," Long asked.

The council also introduced ordinances amending the 2007-08 operating budget, providing the 2008-09 budget and authorizing the issue of $1.113 million for gas revenue bonds.

The council also authorized Mayor Leroy Sullivan to enter into negotiations in an effort to develop pre-paid natural gas transactions.

The Donaldsonville Chief was also named official journal for the city.