Rec officials no show at hearing

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, February 12, 2008

VIDALIA — The public hearing to discuss a proposed recreation complex near Vidalia never happened because recreation district officials didn’t show up.

The hearing — scheduled as a part of the Concordia Parish Police Jury’s regular meeting Monday — was opened at the beginning of the meeting, but closed and moved further down the agenda to allow for Recreation District No. 3 members to arrive.

When the hearing was re-opened 30 minutes later, no recreation district officials were present.

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“I don’t see how we can have a public hearing without the recreation board here to answer the public’s questions,” President Melvin Ferrington said.

The police jury does not know anything about the recreation district’s plans other than that they are considering buying some land, Juror Randy Temple said.

“We can’t answer questions without (the recreation board) specifics,” Temple said.

Vidalia Aldermen Ricky Knapp and Jon Betts, as well as City Attorney Jack McLemore and City Manager Ken Walker, attended the meeting.

The city has offered to go into an intergovernmental agreement with the recreation district for the development of the new complex.

“I had a presentation to make tonight, but I don’t feel comfortable without (Recreation District President) Marc Archer or the members of the recreation board making their presentation first,” McLemore said.

McLemore asked the jury to defer the public hearing to a date when both recreation district officials and Vidalia Mayor Hyram Copeland could be present.

Copeland was at a meeting in Washington, D.C.

The jury also approved a 3 percent increase — $1,072.75 a month — in payment to Diamond Disposal for the parish’s solid waste disposal.

“As far back as I can remember, they have never asked for a price increase,” Ferrington said. “The contract allows it, and they are well due it.”

The jury awarded a weed spraying job to KMG Vegetation Control, LLC, to take care of spraying needs in the Vidalia and Ridgecrest canals.

“We have some ditches we can’t get to with our equipment, and we would have to buy more equipment to spray them,” Ferrington said.

The contract ultimately saves the police jury money, he said.

Other jurors said KMG has done satisfactory work for them in the past.

For the Vidalia canal, the company will charge $9,000 for every application or $27,000 per year, and for the Ridgecrest canal, they will charge $650 per application or $2,000 per year.

KMG will also charge $1,250 per application or $3,750 per year for an extra two-mile stretch of the Vidalia canal.

“Two applications, one in the spring and one in the fall, should be good,” Ferrington said.