Story by staff reporter Nora Drenner
Former Many mayor Mike Tarver attended the Feb. 18 regular town council meet to recommend several ideas to mayor Ken Freeman and council members that he thought would boost town aesthetics and economic development.
Among Tarver’s ideas was development of a city park on the former Norman Knippers property across Fisher Rd. “It’s a great location for this use,” said Tarver. Also suggested was a monthly trade days event to draw crafters and tourists from around the region.
Additionally, Tarver advised eliminating speed bumps saying no other town around uses them and the ones the town does have are too big to go over at any speed over 5 mph.
Fixing stress bumps was also on the list with Tarver saying “We have some mighty rough roads. It would not hurt for the city council to drive over the entire town to further understand this need.”
Tarver would also like the town to consider a town-operated employment agency, a rental assistance program to match renters with landlords, and he advocated the hiring of a full time grant writer.
Lastly, Tarver suggested establishing an industrial district and assisting with tuition and fees for qualified folks attending the Sabine Valley Campus of the Louisiana Technical College. “Those who complete the courses,” said Tarver, “will be an asset to our community.”
Following Tarver’s suggestions, mayor Freeman said the town had recently lost its grant writer and the board was exploring the best course for acquiring another one. Also noted was trade days had been tried in the past.
In other business, the town council tabled introduction of ordinance 4-2020 regarding renewal of the franchise agreement with Southwestern Electric Power Co (SWEPCO). The current 25-year agreement is a three percent franchise fee that is paid by the utility’s customers and passed on to the town coffers.
Mayor Freeman said he would like to leave the fee at three percent even though state statute allows the board to raise the fee to as high as five percent. Customers see the franchise fee in the taxes and fees section of monthly their bill. The council will make a final decision during its March meeting.
While listening to various reports, mayor Freeman noted the town budget is in the red some $89,000 citing recent water repairs and overtime associated with those repairs as the reason. On the other hand, there was sales tax increase of 5.82 percent in Jan. 2020 as compared to Dec. 2019.
All town council members — Mary Brocato, James Kennedy, Gay Corley, Bobbie Jackson and Anita Darwin– were present. The next Many council meeting is slated for Tuesday, March 17, beginning at 5:15 p.m. in the town hall located at 965 San Antonio Ave.