Council approves two local businesses for zone program

By href="mailto:aperzo@americanpress.com"> By Andrew Perzo / American Press By Justin B. Phillips / American Press

Wednesday’s City Council meeting

started with some reminiscing about the 2013 holiday season. Local

shoppers may have noticed

a more prevalent police presence at Prien Lake Mall as well as

Target. The increased security was due in part to volunteers

from the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Ward 3

Marshal’s Office. The City Council, led by councilman John Ieyoub,

commended the volunteers for their work. He said it will be nice

for locals to hear about the selflessness of local law enforcement

officers during the holidays.

“Stories that usually make the news are

about people doing something wrong, breaking the law or are involved in

some scandal

or bad behavior. Every once in a while someone makes the news for

doing something good,” Ieyoub said. “That’s what this is

about. A group of men and women who during the busy holiday

season, on top of their regular jobs and family obligations, gave

their time to keep people safe.”

The volunteers from the Sheriff’s Office participated in the 10th annual Robbery Prevention Mobilization Program at the mall,

and the volunteers from the marshal’s office provided extra security at Target.

“The deputies assisted shoppers with

such things as helping them jump-start their car, change a flat, assist

employees and

shoppers by walking them to their car after dark and any other

assistance they could provide,” Ieyoub said. “Mainly they made

people feel safe while they were buying holiday gifts for their

family and friends, and you can’t put a price on that.”

Two local businesses were approved and

endorsed to participate in the Louisiana Enterprise Zone Program during

the meeting.

Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. at 4400 Legion St. and AAR Aircraft

Services Inc. at 1945 Merganser St. were both approved

for participation by the council. The Enterprise Zone Program is a

jobs incentive program that provides Louisiana income and

franchise tax credits to businesses hiring at least 35 percent of

new jobs from one of four targeted groups. The enterprise

zones are areas with high unemployment, low incomes or a high

percentage of residents receiving some form of public assistance.

The program has been a hot topic at past City Council meetings,

with several of the members discussing the location and practices

of program participants within the city.

Ordinances were passed to appoint

chairmen to review bids for the purchases of two dump trucks, one

three-wheel sweeper, three

refuse trucks and four pickup trucks. Ordinances for the city to

advertise to receive sealed bids for eight other items, including

more trucks and an excavator for use by the Public Works

Department, were also passed.

The council passed an ordinance

authorizing the city to advertise to receive sealed bids for a new

transit bus wash facility.

Mister Edwards, public works head, spoke at length about the

facility during the meeting. He said the city vehicles are washed

by hand and that the new facility would be able to wash every

vehicle in the city’s fleet while also being low maintenance.

“There are no moving parts in this

facility. You see these other car washes all the time with these moving

parts. I didn’t

want that style,” Edwards said. “I just wanted the style where you

will move your vehicle through it. So the vehicle is going

to move, not the building.”