Budget surplus is seen in city’s coffers
The Ville Platte City Council met Friday to approve the new budget, amend curfew hours, and make a change to a work requirements for the Streets Department.
The City of Ville Platte’s budget beginning July 1, 2019, and ending June 30, 2020, showed the amended income in the amount of $11,382,054. Total expenses were $11,064,762. There was a surplus of $327,292. The council approved the ordinance amending the past fiscal year’s budget.
The council then adopted the new budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020, and ending June 30, 2021. Total projected expenditures is $13,365,724.
The council, later in the meeting, agreed to amend current city curfew hours which are in place due to COVID-19 restrictions. Mayor Jennifer Vidrine said we are still in Phase II of reopening, mostly because of community behavior. “The cases are running rampant, not only in the state and the parish, but also in the City of Ville Platte,” she said. She recommended keeping the curfew hours from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. for adults and businesses.
Councilwoman Faye Lemoine asked if they could change the curfew to end at 5 a.m. instead of 6 a.m. because some people would like to stop and get breakfast before going to work. Councilman Bryant Riggs initially said he was fine with keeping the ending time of the curfew at 6:00 a.m., but said he would go with how the majority would vote. “I’m good with it to help the businesses, but not for someone who just wants a cup of coffee,” said Riggs, with tongue-in-cheek. Councilman Jerry Joseph said, “I don’t mind changing it to 5 a.m. to accommodate the workers.”
The council approved the new curfew hours of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. for adults and businesses, but said if they find people are not following the rules, they will change the hours. The curfew for minors stays in place for 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. The new hours are now in effect. Vidrine asked the police to monitor the hours and make sure they are adhered to. “Just in the last week, we’ve had an abundance of virus cases here in the city,” she said. “We’re asking people to please, please be careful and wear a mask and practice social distancing. This is not political. This virus is real, no matter what your political beliefs are.” She added, “Please stay away from the elderly population because they are the most vulnerable.”
Also because of the pandemic, Vidrine said she spoke with the city attorneys and said they are notifying people that the Northside Civic Center and Pavilion, as well as the Martin Luther King Center, will not be having any events for the remainder of the year because of the public health crisis.
Vidrine also announced the city plans to have its annual fireworks show on July 4th. It will be held at the Northside Civic Center Pavilion. This time, they are asking spectators to stay at their vehicles due to COVID-19.
Vidrine went on to say they are running into difficulties finding people to work in the Streets Department because many applicants do not have a high school diploma or GED, which was required. She recommended the council rescind the criteria requiring a high school diploma/GED. The council agreed to rescind the requirement only for the Streets Department.
Councilman Lionel Anderson introduced an ordinance to sell property belonging to the city, namely the Dossman Street property in the Eloi E. Demourelle subdivision, where affordable homes are to be built. There will be a public hearing on July 14th at 4:45 p.m.