Morgan City council OKs cultural district application

From left, outgoing Morgan City Mayor Pro-tem Louis Tamporello stands with newly-elected Mayor Pro-tem Tim Hymel after Wednesday’s city council meeting.
(The Daily Review Photo by Zachary Fitzgerald)


Plans are in the works for the city to apply to establish a cultural district that would give tax incentives to businesses and residents associated with the arts and rehabilitating historic structures.
The Louisiana Cultural District Program was a tool the state came up with to try to entice artists back to the state after Hurricane Katrina, Morgan City Main Street Director Steve Morrell said.
The council approved a resolution Wednesday to apply with the state to form a cultural district in Morgan City.
The cultural district program has grown from exempting sales and use tax for “one of a kind works of art,” Morrell said. “It has simply grown in years to kind of have more of an historic tax credit availability for commercial as well as homeowner occupied properties,” Morrell said. The Main Street District will be the center of the district and would include as much of the city as justified by the cultural aspects required of the district, Morrell said.
“We feel real comfortable with this district we’ve created,” Morrell said. The council passed a resolution to abide by and provide the necessary support and resources to administer the program for any individuals that want to pursue the credits, Morrell said. The application to apply to become a cultural district is due March 1.
Rules and regulations have to be abided by in order to receive the tax credits, Morrell said.
The minimum investment to receive a tax credit is $10,000, Mayor Frank “Boo” Grizzaffi said. The City of Houma also has a cultural district, Morrell said. Morgan City’s proposed cultural district includes along Front Street to Sixth Street to Ninth Street to Myrtle Street.
LA Contractors started repairs on the Lake End Parkway cabin floors in all three cabins about two and a half weeks ago, City Recreation and Culture Director Dwayne Barbier said. Work is 85 to 90 percent finished, Barbier said. The cabins should be ready to be rented again by Tuesday, Barbier said.
The floors are being completely replaced, he said. The floors began “buckling” in the cabins shortly after they opened in May 2013, Barbier said. LA Contractors and Carl Blum agreed to repair the floors at no cost to the city.
The council elected Tim Hymel as mayor pro-tem for a one-year term replacing former Mayor Pro-tem Louis Tamporello.
The council voted to go into executive session at Wednesday’s council meeting without identifying ahead of time what was to be discussed in the executive session. When the council returned from executive session, Assistant City Attorney Paul Landry told the public the council and mayor discussed pending litigation against the city.
Before Wednesday’s meeting, The Daily Review requested and received a listing of the litigation to be discussed, but that list was not presented to the public during the council meeting.
The list is as follows:
—Lester Mingo vs. City of Morgan City. Description of case: Traveling on Everett Street and Federal Avenue attempting to cross intersection when City of Morgan City garbage truck hit his vehicle.
—Jerry Shepard vs. City of Morgan City. Description of case: Vehicle hit from behind on Railroad Avenue by city employee.
—Chuntel Ruffin vs. City of Morgan City. Description of case: Stepped in hole at dock.
—David Carmichael vs. City of Morgan City. Description of case: Incident occurred at Lake End Park. Suit brought on behalf of minor child as a result of being pushed by another minor child causing injuries.
—Stephanie Brown vs. City of Morgan City. Description of case: Property damage and personal injury sustained from tree branch hitting car while traveling over La. 182 bridge.
—Denny Blanchard vs. City of Morgan City. Description of case: Suit to quiet title on property.
The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana website states the following regarding executive sessions under Louisiana open meetings law. “To hold a closed meeting, two-thirds of the members present must vote in an open meeting to do so, and the minutes must show the reason for holding the closed session. Public bodies are not required to state how long they will be in an executive session. No final or binding action can be taken during a closed meeting. A closed meeting cannot be used ‘as a subterfuge to defeat the purposes’ of the law,” according to PAR’s website.
Morgan City Housing Authority Director Clarence Robinson presented the authority’s pilot tax check of $55,000 for 2011 to 2013 at Wednesday’s council meeting. During 2013, the council decided to collect the tax after waiving the tax for past three years.
In other business, the council:
—Accepted a bid in the amount of $97,200 to put a new roof on the Morgan City Police Department building.
—Accepted a bid in the amount of $108,000 for the city’s Potable Water Storage Tank Roofing Project.
—Approved a resolution to support the Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act.
—Approved a Class A liquor and beer permit for El Toro Mexican Grill contingent on taking care of fire safety issues.
—Granted permission for Café Jojo’s to host “Rhythms on the River” each Friday from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. April 25 to June 20.
—Granted a parade permit for the second annual Iron Horse Triathlon to be held at Lake End Park on June 29.

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