St. Martinville City Council meeting to be remote after mayor tests positive for COVID-19

St. Martinville Mayor Melinda Mitchell

ST. MARTINVILLE — The St. Martinville City Council will hold Monday night’s meeting as a teleconference after Mayor Melinda Mitchell tested positive for COVID-19 last week.

Although she is asymptomatic, her positive test has led to other administration officials, most notably Executive Assistant Lorrie Poirier, Chief Administrative Officer Avis Gutekunst and Police Chief Ricky Martin, to be quarantined for two weeks. Because she is already known to be infected, Mitchell’s quarantine will last a few days, until she is no longer contagious to others.

According to Gutekunst, the city is planning to begin testing all city employees for the virus next week.

A minor, but important, item on Monday’s agenda is a resolution to move the council’s July 6 meeting forward so the administration can complete and adopt the city’s annual budget before the state’s June 30 deadline.

The city operates on a fiscal year that runs from July 1 to June 30. The city is already facing a finding in its audit for the 2019-2020 fiscal year for missing its audit deadline this year.

According to District 1 Councilman Mike Fuselier, the current plan is to reschedule the July 6 meeting to June 29 at 6 p.m. If approved, a public hearing on the budget will precede the meeting at 4:30 p.m.

The council is also scheduled to hear a presentation from City Legal Counsel Allan Durand regarding power transmission lines at Evangeline Mobile Home Park and discuss the next steps in resolving issues on the site.

The problems at the park stem from permits issued under previous Zoning Administrator Shedrick Berard’s watch that allowed mobile homes to be moved into easements and block rights-of-way. For the last two years, owner Mark Brignac and council members have been at an impasse over how to resolve the issue — and more specifically, who will pay to fix the problems.

In other business, the council is scheduled to:

• Hold a public hearing for discussion of the sale of city property to Peppers Unlimited.

• Open sealed bids for adjudicated property pending final approval by the city attorney and approve advertisement for the next batch of adjudicated properties.

• Grant Mitchell authority to sign and approve documents for a Community Development Block Grant to rebuild 68 manholes, lift stations and other infrastructure as part of a sewer systems improvements project.

• Adjust pay for Police Officer Brock Prejean, who completed his POST training.

• Discuss installing GPS tracking on all city vehicles.

• Consider plans for rental of the apartment behind Maison Duchamp.

• Rehire city janitorial personnel.

• Consider an ordinance establishing and reserving sovereign immunity to the city with regards to garbage disposal.

The St. Martinville City Council will meet at 6 p.m. Monday. It isn’t yet clear yet if there will be any members available in the council’s meeting room, at 120 New Market Street, or if all representatives will be meeting telephonically. This story will be updated at www.iberianet.com as soon as that decision is made.

Dwayne Fatherree is the community editor for The Daily Iberian. He can be reached at dwayne.fatherree@daily-iberian.com.

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