Recap of August Harahan City Council Meeting

Recap of August Harahan City Council Meeting

PASSED: Huete’s ordinance to allow any councilman to place items on the agenda for regular and special meetings passed 4 to zero. Councilman Benton was absent. Baudier, Huete, Johnston and Wheeler all voted to pass the ordinance.

This ordinance greatly minimizes the transparency of the council, undermines the powers of the mayor and possibly violates the Lawrason Act. After touting repeatedly their desire for transparency, it seems Johnston, Wheeler, Baudier and Huete are only interested in the mayor’s transparency, not their own. The mayor asked the council to defer the vote until the La. Attorney General provided an opinion as to the legality of the ordinance. The council refused to delay. Councilman Benton, absent from the meeting, had a statement read in which she adamantly spoke against this ordinance.

PASSED: Baudier’s ordinance giving the council paid health insurance benefits passed 3 to 1. Baudier, Huete and Wheeler voted yes and Johnston voted no. This provides an approximate 50% increase in compensation.

VETOED: On Friday, August 28, Mayor Miceli vetoed the insurance ordinance. She will need 2 votes from the council to uphold her veto and therefore, override the passage of the ordinance. Some citizens have expressed concern that the 2 votes necessary may not be gotten because Councilman Johnston has said that he would not take the insurance this term if it passes but would consider taking it the next term if he is re-elected. Councilman Benton has stated she would support the Mayor’s veto.

Please contact Councilman Johnston and express your concerns.

The meeting was again well attended by residents. Many spoke passionately and eloquently regarding both issues up for vote. Their voices were not heard and the council ignored their pleas to vote against both ordinances. If ignoring constituents was not enough, Mr. Baudier felt compelled once again to insult and belittle concerned residents for coming to the meeting to express their views on the issues relating to city business and their interests.

COUNCIL CONTACT INFO:

TimBaudier 504-343-7762 Tim.Baudier@ci.harahan.la.us

Susan Benton 504-415-2497 Susan.Benton@ci.harahan.la.us

Dana Huete 504-250-7051 Dana.huete@ci.harahan.la.us

Craig Johnston 504-259-5763 Craig.johnston@ci.harahan.la.us

Carrie Wheeler 504-450-5484 Carrie.Wheeler@ci.harahan.la.us

Recap of the July 16th city council meeting

Following is the recap of the July 16th city council meeting:

Dana Huete put up an ordinance for first reading that will allow any councilman to change the agenda for special meetings 25 hours prior to the meeting.  The law, as it stands now, requires the agenda to be set when the special meeting is called and any change in the agenda must be done by unanimous approval of the council at the meeting.  If this ordinance passes, any controversial or unpopular item can be added to the agenda of a special meeting 25 hours prior to the meeting and brought up for vote.  This change will not allow adequate notice to the public that other items will be addressed at special meetings which are poorly advertised and poorly attended.

THIS ORDINANCE WILL BE VOTED ON AT THE AUGUST 20th MEETING

Tim Baudier and Carrie Wheeler put up an ordinance for first reading which will give the council paid health insurance.  It will also pay 33% of the policy for the spouse and dependent portion. This represents up to a 50% increase in benefits for the council. The current mayor discovered shortly after taking office that the council had been improperly receiving paid health insurance benefits since 2013 and ended the benefit as of July 2015. Any increase in benefits for the council and mayor can only be done by ordinance.  No such ordinance was in place for the added insurance benefit the council had been receiving.

 THIS ORDINANCE WILL BE VOTED ON AT THE AUGUST 20th MEETING

Eric Chatelain asked to withdraw his ordinance allowing the resubdivision of a 120 foot lot on Oak St into three, substandard 40 foot lots. The current law calls for a minimum of 50 foot frontage for lots in Harahan.  He plans to resubmit the request at a later date. The new City Attorney improperly allowed Dana Huete to withdraw the ordinance.  The request to withdraw should have been voted on by the council.  Many disappointed homeowners, who would be immediately affected by the resubdivision, had attended meetings over the past three months and were hoping for a vote to put the issue to rest.

PLEASE ATTEND THE AUGUST 20th MEETING AT CITY HALL AT 7:30 pm

Or contact your councilmen if you have concerns:

COUNCIL CONTACT INFO:

TimBaudier 504-343-7762 Tim.Baudier@ci.harahan.la.us

Susan Benton 504-415-2497 Sue.Benton@ci.harahan.la.us

Dana Huete 504-250-7051 Dana.huete@ci.harahan.la.us

Craig Johnston 504-259-5763 Craig.johnson@ci.harahan.la.us

Carrie Wheeler 504-450-5484 Carrie.Wheeler@ci.harahan.la.us

Dear Residents,

It’s an exciting time in Harahan these days. We are currently experiencing positive changes and our city is moving forward. During our May council meeting Mayor Miceli gave us a state of the city address. It was very informative and professional. If anyone would like to view the council meeting please contact city hall and request a copy of the meeting.

The upcoming meeting on June 18 will be an important meeting for the future of Harahan. Please come out and help to preserve the integrity our city. On the agenda, is a vote to allow a politically connected citizen to re-subdivide a 120ft lot into 3 substandard 40ft lots. Many residents have come out and spoke against former Councilman Eric Chatelain’s proposal. Planning and Zoning voted unanimously to approve this re-subdivision in spite of Ordinance #1333 which specifically sets minimum lot frontage at 50 feet. Some residents fear that this was created to set a precedence for the future subdividing of lots on the old Colonial Country Club site.

The new mayor has discovered that in 2013 the council began improperly receiving the benefit of paid health insurance. By law, any increase or decrease in compensation or benefits for the mayor or councilmen must be done by ordinance. Mayor Mosca authorized the city to begin paying health insurance benefits for the council mid 2013 without presenting an ordinance for council vote. Mayor Miceli discontinued this benefit effective June 1, 2015.

Councilmen Baudier and Wheeler will be putting up an ordinance for first reading at the June 18th meeting to reinstate their personal paid health insurance benefits for the council. This amounts to an approximate 47% -65% increase in compensation for the council members during a time that the city is trying to reduce a $1.2 million dollar deficit.

Harahan was incorporated in 1920. For 93 years our city councilmen have been happy to serve the citizens without benefit of city paid health insurance. There does not appear to have been any changes in the duties of the council that would justify such a staggering increase in pay.
Especially in light of the dire economic situation of the city.

If the new mayor is to move our city in a new direction she needs the support of the community. Our city council must know that the citizens are watching their actions and holding them accountable. I encourage each of you to come to a meeting, encourage family and friends to come and get involved. Please contact your councilmen regarding issues you feel are
important. Their contact information can be found below. The next
meeting is Thursday, June 18 and 7:30 p.m. Please come support your mayor and your community and please forward this email to any resident you feel would be interested.

COUNCIL CONTACT INFO:

TimBaudier 504-343-7762 Tim.Baudier@ci.harahan.la.us

Susan Benton 504-415-2497 Sue.Benton@ci.harahan.la.us

Dana Huete 504-250-7051 Dana.huete@ci.harahan.la.us

Craig Johnston 504-259-5763 Craig.johnson@ci.harahan.la.us

Carrie Wheeler 504-450-5484 Carrie.Wheeler@ci.harahan.la.us

Servitude of Drainage

There is also a law that has been around for a long time that says a property owner can be held liable for improvements to the land if he causes his neighbors to flood. It was written about in the news paper and can be downloaded here. (Click here to download the article) This law is the basis of our fight because the area of colonial is a large drainage area for Harahan. Harahan can’t afford to loose this drainage area and this page will show you why.