Wages, staff specified for Ace Bayou

Friday, February 11, 2011

Workers hired at Ace Bayou's building with property tax breaks should be paid more than the minimum wage, according to a Lewisburg Council vote this week.

And at least 50 of the 100 anticipated new jobs should be filled this year, councilmen agreed Tuesday night when specifying terms of the Payment In Lieu Of Taxes Agreement that was authorized last month.

There was another business-friendly move taken by the council that made several top dollar decisions during a one-hour session. The others include:

* Permitting Ernest Henegar to build a road on the old Murray horse farm the city bought a few years ago. The road will allow expansion of family-owned, brick rental units on East Hill Avenue. The road will improve access to city land.

* Taking another step toward borrowing up to $11 million in two annual installments for expansion of the sewage treatment plant. The low-interest loan from the state and $2 million from federal stimulus money will pay for the $13 million project.

* Applying for a $500,000 federal grant to repair leaking sewers so ground water won't dilute flows and thereby continue a long-term project to reduce the load on the treatment plant after a rain or when snow melts.

Meanwhile, extensive public discussion continued on how sewer service fees are charged when pipes are close to a city resident using a septic tank. The fee is for the availability of service even though it's not used. Two residents who've brought this issue to the council and utility were joined by a third on Tuesday.

Requests were made again. Obstacles were explained and the on-going discussion's next public meeting venue appears to be at 4 p.m. Thursday in the Water and Wastewater Department office on Water Street.

Another on-going task for the council is hiring a successor for recently retired City Manager Eddie Fuller. Today, Police Chief Chuck Forbis is to file his report on background checks he's conducted on the top three applicants. Mayor Barbara Woods is to receive it and forward copies to councilmen who scheduled a meeting for Tuesday when a decision could be made.

Two times are stated in a required legal notice published today for the meeting because it was unclear on Tuesday night whether school would be held Thursday when parent-teacher conferences were scheduled. Councilman Robin Minor, a history teacher at Lewisburg Middle School, must work Tuesday afternoon -- the back-up time for conferences in case of snow. It's now clear the council is to meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday and not at 4:30 that afternoon.