Christopher Kersey , the manager of the Highland Road Park Observatory shared suggestions on how to have light in your yard without its negative effects. While we all want to use our lights for protection at night, we ought to also be aware of the possibility that we may be shining them into the bedroom of our next door neighbor.
Sarah Holliday-James, a certified parliamentarian, was our speaker. Since we have added a “Crime Prevention District” Committee to our organization, Sarah went over the parliamentary formalities that we all need to follow. This is particularly important in these districts in particular. The keeping of accurate minutes is very important as these are created under State Statutes and must follow state law.
Elliott Atkinson addressed concerns about some HOAs not understanding the complexity of trying to join with other HOAs to form one huge organization. There are varying dues, liabilities, insurance, deed restrictions, architectural restrictions, ownership interests, etc.
Ashley Michel of the EBR Library staff addressed how to go about setting up an Excel spreadsheet. This is helpful in keeping good accounting records as well as membership records.
Meeting cancelled due to weather. The Great Flood of 2016.
Lauren Marschall from the Center for Planning Excellence (CPEX) had a presentation on Better Block Perkins Overpass. She showed the possiblities that can be done to make that area a more attractive and safe place for people to move through using the modes of transportation that are currently being used, i.e., walking, biking, personal vehicles, and public transit.
Eric Romero, Information Services (IS) Director, and Warren Kron, Georgraphic Information Services(GIS) Manage explained how to use the new technology the city is providing. The city has added property tax records which it will now receive regularly from the City Tax Assessor. Additionally, the city has a 311 app you can use to report problems immediately by cell phone.
Mr. Larry Latuso, a CPA with Score, explained the impact of the new Legislation on imposing sales tax on HOA’s. …“one of the specifically enumerated services subject to sales tax is the furnishing, for dues, fees, or other consideration, of the privilege of access to clubs or the privilege of having access to or the use of amusement, entertainment, athletic, or recreational facilities”… things that make a profit for an HOA.
Mr. Randy Zaeth and Mr. Mike Morganti with the East Baton Rouge Mosquito and Rodent Control explained the dangers of West Nile and Zika. These have been in the news a great deal lately and the parish tests for the presence of these viruses. They also explained what all of us can and should be doing to lessen the mosquito’s ability to reproduce and spread them.
All the candidates running for mayor-president of East Baton Rouge parish were invited to participate. After a brief introduction by the 10 candidates, a series of 4 questions were asked and the candidates had 1 minute to respond. The order of answer was determined by a draw. Questions concerned dedicated taxes, lack of enforcement of city ordinances, correcting drainage problems before allowing construction in a problem area and more real public input in ordinance revisions. The candidates then met with the audience members.
A forum for the candidates for Metro Council seats was held. All the candidates running for Metro Council District seats of East Baton Rouge parish were invited to participate. Of the 42 candidates running for a seat, 31 participated. Each candidate had one minute to introduce themselves and their goals for EBR Parish. President Nancy Curry asked each candidate to respond to a two part question regarding the recent parish wide flooding: 1. Even if we ignore this seemingly rare recent flooding, please explain your thoughts on solving our drainage problems which we very obviously have had for quite some time. And I am referring to the Comite Diversion canal. 2. Would you be inclined to vote for or against a development that will increase water runoff in an area that already floods from a plain old typical Louisiana rain? The candidates then met with participants and answered individual questions.
The speakers were:
Chris Keaton, Deputy Budget Analyst, LA House Fiscal Division - Mr. Keaton gave a presentation on the fiscal status of the State. We receive 12 billion dollars from the Federal government, 4.3 billion from Sales taxes, 3.1 billion from Income taxes and 3.1 billion for statutory designations
Congressman Garret Graves, 6th District - spoke about the transportation problems in Baton Rouge. He said we have the 3rd worse traffic problems in the nation. One of the solutions is to close the Washington Ave. exit to establish new traffic patterns. A new Task Force established by Governor Edwards, will study budget and traffic problems. One possible solution is an increase in gasoline taxes.
Ron Henderson of the Department of Insurance Consumer Advocacy Division - said the Insurance Department has limited jurisdiction on flood insurance. Only 13% of the population has flood insurance which can be purchased separately for structure and contents.
Carolyn McKnight, Superintendent of BREC - discussed the BREC Trails which are part of the Capital Area Pathway Project, CAPP, which is an initiative to identify routes and build a network of trails and greenways throughout East Baton Rouge and surrounding Parishes
Christopher Kerney, manager of the Observatory at Highland Road Park which is part of BREC - informed the audience about the Observatory and how they will do an Astronomy Outreach for HOA’s to demonstrate and keep light pollution minimized. More information will be forthcoming.
Walter Monsour and his team explained the Green Light Plan II that is on the December ballot. The Federation takes no position on any tax, but in the interest of giving members some information on what it does and does not do, we allowed them to have some time to explain it. The Federation always wants our members to have enough information to make informed choices. A schedule of meetings across the parish which the public can attend for specific information was given members through our website and the city’s website.
Speakers included Frank Duke, Planning Director for EBR Parish, who spoke on his proposed revision to Section 8.201 of the UDC. He also explained the upcoming restructuring of the UDC. Jennifer Mayer, from CASA explained what they do and their need for volunteers. Josh Crowe Program Manager for SSO (Sanitary Sewer Overflow) explained their work upgrading the sewer system and how to be contacted when work will begin in various areas of the parish.
Justin Dupuy, Code Enforcement manager with DPW explained how the city-parish’s Blight Court operates. He reviewed the various types of violations neighborhoods can report using the city’s 311 Call Center number. Carey Chauvin, Chief Building Official, explained how voters approved the splitting of DPW into six separate departments.
Eric Romero, Information Service Director, introduced the city”s “Open Data” website data.brla.gov. Mary Stein, EBR Assistant Library Director, and Andrew Tadman, Library Coordinator of Reference & computer Services introduced their new website: citykey.com
Scott Shean presented “A Review of Options for Gating Lake Sherwood Acres.” Clifford Grout, First Vice President on the Federation’s board explained how to do research on the Legislature’s website for bills and statues. This is important particularly if you plan to create or have created a Crime Prevention District as you have state laws you must then follow.
Spencer Watts, the East Baton Rouge Public Library Director explained what the library system hopes to do if the Library Tax is renewed.
Reception at the Main Library celebrating the Federation’s new logo. The logo was designed to give the Federation a distinct recognizable image the public can quickly associate with us.
The Federation hosted a Forum for the candidates seeking election to the Louisiana State House and Senate. Present at this first event were Metro Councilman Ryan Heck seeking a seat in House District 69, Metro Councilwoman Donna Collins Lewis seeking a seat in House District 61, and Antoine Pierce seeking a seat in House District 66. Also speaking was Justin Dupuy, with Code Enforcement. He explained the current definition of a “family” He also addressed to what extend someone can and cannot conduct a business in a residential area, and Parking. You may have as many vehicles as you can fit in your garage, carport, and driveway (driveway can only be the width of the garage/carport opening) up to the sidewalk/street. Parked vehicles cannot block the sidewalk. Parking on the grass in the front of a house other than in the above described driveway is not permitted no matter what surface you put down.
-Learning parliamentary procedure
-Rollout of the Federation's new website - www.fgbrca.org or fgbrca.webs.com
-No meeting this month