Patterson Council delays action on AT&T contract

PATTERSON — City Council members tabled an agreement with AT&T for video services until a few wrinkles in the document can be ironed out.

AT&T is proposing providing Internet-based video programming of about 400 channels and voice-over-IP, or broadband Internet, service.

Steve Bierhorst, network operations manager for AT&T, said the system has been set up in nearby Houma, and the company can’t keep up with new orders.

Patterson would be paid a fee of 5 percent of gross “for IP video services, advertising commissions and home shopping, and subscription services,” according to the agreement.

Legal counsel Russel Cremaldi had a few qualms with the agreement he felt needed to be addressed:

—In public-access programming, the agreement says AT&T will not indemnify the city in cases of damages or liability “resulting from the negligence or willful misconduct of the City, its officers, agents, employees, attorneys, consultants, independent contractors or third parties.” Cremaldi suggested insertion of language providing that if AT&T hires an independent contractor the city would be indemnified of liability.

—The agreement suggests that if AT&T settles a liability case, and the city does not consent to the settlement, indemnity will be limited to the amount of the settlement. Cremaldi objected to limiting the amount without the city’s permission.

—Cremaldi suggested changing the phrase “may not” to “shall not” regarding AT&T permitting use, disposal, storage or release of hazardous substances.

—In the case of disputes between the city and the company, Cremaldi suggested adding seeking resolution in court as a final step.

The council agreed to table the matter. Cremaldi and AT&T attorneys will confer on the changes.

After expanding the agenda, Mayor Rodney Grogan presented a resolution to apply for grant funds from the federal FHWA Recreational Trails Program, through the Louisiana Trails office. Though the funding amount was not specified, the city must put up a 20 percent match.

Grogan said the city is proposing a walking and bicycle trail beginning at Red Cypress Road and Main Street and proceeding to U.S. 90, then to Catherine Street, in several phases. ATVs would not be allowed.

In other business Tuesday:

—The council passed a resolution retaining GSE Associates LLC of Houma for construction of a 2 million gallon-per-day water treatment plant addition.

—Grogan announced receipt of a grant of $25,000 each year for three years from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which he said will be used for a “healthy choices” initiative in the city.

—Slated guests Ed Austin and Andjru Jackson did not appear.

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