Ruston City Council passes resolution concerning economic, infrastructural development

By Jim Wilkerson

The Ruston City Council held its monthly scheduled meeting Monday, Nov. 1, at 5:30 p.m. The meeting lasted only 15 minutes, but several resolutions passed that are pivotal to the city government’s plans for economic and infrastructural development.

Before the meeting began, Mayor Ronny Walker spoke to those in attendance about the Downtown Ruston Wine Walk and the City of Ruston Monster Mash, both of which took place last week. Walker noted that all of the Wine Walk’s 500 tickets were sold, and the Monster Mash had 7,659 children and parents at the event.

“We really appreciate all our staff, because it really does take all our staff to carry out those types of events,” Walker said.

During the meeting, several resolutions were unanimously passed concerning economic and infrastructural development. The first will impose a 1.75% tax on the Power and Water Economic District to pay for the development of said district. Walker emphasized, “This is not a tax the City of Ruston is doing. The developer asked for the tax, and the tax will go to him.”

The second resolution will authorize the city government to enter into a professional services agreement with the company, Technology for Rural America, Inc. The reason for doing so, Public Works Manager Andrew Halbrook said, was to explore “the potential opportunity to develop broadband as a utility.”

Without going into too much detail, Halbrook informed the council that the monthly rate the company will charge the city is $12,000 per month for a six- to eight-month period.

When Alderman Bruce Siegmund jokingly asked, “How long until we can replace Suddenlink?”

Walker responded by trying to lower expectations of the time it will take to have municipal broadband installed: “It’s a long, long process…and [federal funding] will slow the process down a little more.”

Agenda items for the Nov. 1 meeting included:

  1. Agenda and Minutes
  2. Adopt Agenda
  3. Approve Minutes of the October 4, 2021 Regular Meeting
  4. Administration
  5. Consider Ordinance No. ______ of 2021, Levying an Additional Sales Tax of One and Three-Quarter Percent (1.75%) in the Power and Water Economic Development District of the City of Ruston, Sate of Louisiana (the “Development”). The Development is a Three (3) Phase Mixed Use Development Consisting of the City of Ruston, State of Louisiana (The “District”); Designating the Full Amount of Such Additional Sales Tax as the Sales Tax Increments int eh District From Which the Local Sales Tax Increments Will Be Determined and Used to Finance Economic Development Projects in the District in Accordance With and as Authorized by Part II, Chapter 27, Title 33 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950, as amended, Designating the Initial Annual Baseline Collection Rate and Establishing a Monthly Baseline Collection Rate For the District; Pledging and Dedicating Such Tax Increments to Reimburse Economic Development Costs and Providing For Other Matters in Connection With the Foregoing

a(1). Public Hearing Regarding Ordinance No. ______ of 2021, Levying an Additional Sales Tax of One and Three-Quarter Percent (1.75%) in the Power and Water Economic Development District of the City of Ruston, Sate of Louisiana (the “Development”). The Development is a Three (3) Phase Mixed Use Development Consisting of the City of Ruston, State of Louisiana (The “District”); Designating the Full Amount of Such Additional Sales Tax as the Sales Tax Increments int eh District From Which the Local Sales Tax Increments Will Be Determined and Used to Finance Economic Development Projects in the District in Accordance With and as Authorized by Part II, Chapter 27, Title 33 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950, as amended, Designating the Initial Annual Baseline Collection Rate and Establishing a Monthly Baseline Collection Rate For the District; Pledging and Dedicating Such Tax Increments to Reimburse Economic Development Costs and Providing For Other Matters in Connection With the Foregoing

  1. Introduce Ordinance No. ______ of 2021, Amending the Code of Ordinances of the City of Ruston, Louisiana
  2. Introduce Ordinance No. ______ of 2021, Amending Various Sections of Chapter 26 of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Ruston, Louisiana Related to Parking
  3. Introduce Ordinance No. ______ of 2021, Authorizing City to Enter into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement and/or Development Agreement with GSE, L.L.C. and to Lease/Sell Property in Connection with City of Ruston Economic Development
  4. Introduce Ordinance No. ______ of 2021, Providing the Date, Time and Place of Regular Meetings of the Board of Aldermen of the City of Ruston, Louisiana for the Calendar Year 2022
  5. Public Works:
  6. Consider Resolution No. ______ of 2021, Authorizing City to Enter into a Professional Services Agreement with Technology For Rural America, Inc. Related to Broadband Services in the City
  7. Consider Resolution No. ______ of 2021, Authorizing City to Enter Into a Non-Exclusive Franchise Agreement with Southern Light, L.L.C. for the Purpose of Constructing and Maintaining a Fiber-Optic Transmission Line Within Certain Public Rights-of-Way Within the City of Ruston, Louisiana
  8. Introduce Ordinance No. ______ of 2021, Authorizing the Lease of Additional Property by the City of Ruston to the North Louisiana Military Museum
  9. Code Enforcement
  10. Status Report from Building Official on the Abatement of the Substandard Building(s) or Structure(s) Located at 902 Jones (LCDBG #19)
  11. Finance
  12. Introduce Ordinance No. ______ of 2021, Authorizing the Issuance of Not Exceeding Twenty-Seven Million Dollars ($27,000,000) of Sales Tax Increment Revenue Refunding Bonds, Series 2021, of the City of Ruston, Parish of Lincoln, State of Louisiana; Fixing Certain Details and Providing for the Payment Thereof and Entering Into Certain Covenants and Agreements in Connection with the Security and Payment of Said Bonds; and Providing for Other Matters in Connection Therewith
  13. Treasurer’s Report
  14. Adjourn Meeting

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