Caddo Levee District

 

 

OFFICIAL PROCEEDINGS OF BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF

CADDO LEVEE DISTRICT

AT REGULAR MEETING HELD ON NOVEMBER 12, 2020

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 At a regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners of the Caddo Levee District held at 10:00 a.m., November 12, 2020, at 1320 Grimmett Drive, Shreveport, Louisiana, the following members were present: Patrick Harrison, James T. Sims, Gary Procell, Willie Walker, Carolyn C. Prator and Helen Godfrey-Smith. Kandi Moore was unable to attend.

 

Marshall Jones, Jones & Odom, LLP; Robert Tomasek, LA Department of Transportation and Development; Heidi Stewart, NLCOG; Ali M. Mustapha, Executive Director; Danielle Thames, Assistant Executive Director; and Lynda Jones, Administrative Assistant, were also present. Ronald F. Lattier, Law Offices of Ronald F. Lattier was unable to attend.

 

The meeting was opened with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

President Harrison asked for any comments from the public regarding agenda items or other issues. There were no public comments.

 

President Harrison stated that the minutes from the October 8, 2020 meeting had been emailed for review and asked for a motion to approve. Mr. Sims made a motion, with a second by Mr. Walker, to approve the minutes from the October 2020 meeting. The motion unanimously passed.

 

Mr. Harrison discussed the monthly financial reports, and he reported that operating expenses are a little high due to the purchase of a new lawn mower and new copier for the office.

 

The Board reviewed payments and invoices for the month of October 2020 and subsequent bills for the month of September 2020. Mrs. Prator made a motion, with a second by Mr. Procell, to ratify payment of the invoices for the month of October 2020 and subsequent bills for the month of September 2020. The motion unanimously passed.

 

The Board unanimously approved the request from Stephen Hoff to advertise for bid for grazing purposes: Tract #1-Approximately 146 acres located in E/2 of SE/4 of Sec 1,T19N, R16W, less road; NE/4 of NE/4 of sec 12, T19N, R16W; and NW/4 of NW/4 of Sec 7, T19N, R15W, less KCS & G Railroad with a motion by Mrs. Prator and a second by Mr. Walker.

 

The Board unanimously approved the renewal of the following surface leases: Donna Blackburn, Jere Brannon, Lee Davis Estate of Sammy Davis, Thomas Gary Festavan, Joseph Giglio, Ken Lawler, Michael McDow, Kenny Schuler, Jim Terry and Noell Whatley with a motion by Mr. Sims and a second by Mr. Walker.

 

The Board unanimously approved the transfer of surface lease from Sheryl Rowley to Robert Blake Rice for approximately one acre with 100’ road frontage on Black Bayou known as Lot# 138 in Section 9, T22N, R15W with a motion by Mr. Procell and a second by Mr. Walker.

 

The Board considered the renewal of contracts for professional/legal services for Ronald F. Lattier and J. Marshall Jones, Jr. The Board unanimously approved the following resolution to approve the professional legal services contract for Mr. Ronald F. Lattier of The Law Offices of Ronald F. Lattier for December 1, 2020 through November 30, 2021, with a motion by Mrs. Smith and a second by Mr. Walker:

 

WHEREAS, the Board of Commissioners of the Caddo Levee District is presently engaged in extensive and continuing operations in conjunction with various State, Parish, City and Federal Agencies relating to drainage and flood control programs in Caddo Parish, Louisiana; and,

 

WHEREAS, the Caddo Levee District is financially involved in numerous legal matters arising out of these operations and required legal advice and assistance during regular and special meetings and at various other times regarding these matters; and,

 

WHEREAS, abstracts of title to lands either belonging to the Caddo Levee District or involved in its projects, from time to time need examining; and,

 

WHEREAS, it is anticipated that said Board will be occasionally involved in lawsuits and the resolution of these suits require special legal counsel; and,

 

WHEREAS, the District Attorney of Caddo Parish, the Board's legally designated counsel, is involved in extensive prosecution of criminal matters in Caddo Parish, and does not have a sufficiently large staff to adequately handle the legal affairs of the Board; and,

 

WHEREAS, by the Board of Commissioners of the Caddo Levee District that in view of the real and urgent necessity of present and future special legal counsel, that The Law Offices of Ronald F. Lattier be retained as Special Counsel for one year beginning December 1, 2020 and ending November 30, 2021, at a stipulated fee in accordance with professional service contract submitted herewith, subject, however, to the approval of the proper officials of the State of Louisiana, at a rate as follows:

 

1) A fee of $175.00 per hour for attorneys having experience of ten years or more in the practice of law.

 

2) A fee of $150.00 per hour for attorneys having experience of five to ten years in the practice of law, $125.00 per hour for attorneys having experience of three to five years in the practice of law, $100.00 per hour for attorneys having experience of less than three years in the practice of law, $45.00 per hour for paralegal services, and $25.00 per hour for law clerk services, as specified in the Maximum Hourly Fee Schedule of the Department of Justice dated January 14, 2008.

 

3) Notwithstanding the foregoing fee schedule, State will pay a fee of $100 per hour for all approved non-local (more than 30 miles one way) automobile travel by attorneys.

 

WHEREAS, the Board of Commissioners of the Caddo Levee District, pursuant to La. R.S. 42.262, does hereby retain and employ The Law Offices of Ronald F. Lattier as special counsel; and

 

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the President or Vice President of the Board is especially authorized to enter into, on behalf of the Board, the said Professional Service Contract submitted herewith.

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Resolution and proposed contract described herein be submitted to the Attorney General for the State of Louisiana for approval.

 

The resolution having been submitted to a vote; the vote thereon was as follows:

 

YEAS: 6

NAYS: 0

ABSENT: 1

NOT VOTING: 0

 

The Board unanimously approved the following resolution to approve the professional legal services contract for J. Marshall Jones, Jr. of Jones & Odom, LLP for December 1, 2020 through November 30, 2021, with a motion by Mrs. Smith and a second by Mr. Walker:

 

WHEREAS, the Board of Commissioners of the Caddo Levee District is presently engaged in extensive and continuing operations in conjunction with various State, Parish, City and Federal Agencies relating to drainage and flood control programs in Caddo Parish, Louisiana; and,

 

WHEREAS, the Caddo Levee District is financially involved in numerous legal matters arising out of these operations and required legal advice and assistance during regular and special meetings and at various other times regarding these matters; and,

 

WHEREAS, abstracts of title to lands either belonging to the Caddo Levee District or involved in its projects, from time to time need examining; and,

 

WHEREAS, it is anticipated that said Board will be occasionally involved in lawsuits and the resolution of these suits require special legal counsel; and,

 

WHEREAS, the District Attorney of Caddo Parish, the Board's legally designated counsel, is involved in extensive prosecution of criminal matters in Caddo Parish, and does not have a sufficiently large staff to adequately handle the legal affairs of the Board; and,

 

WHEREAS, by the Board of Commissioners of the Caddo Levee District that in view of the real and urgent necessity of present and future special legal counsel, that Jones & Odom, L.L.P. be retained as Special Counsel for one year beginning December 1, 2020 and ending November 30, 2021, at a stipulated fee in accordance with professional service contract submitted herewith, subject, however, to the approval of the proper officials of the State of Louisiana at a rate as follows:

 

1) A fee of $175.00 per hour for attorneys having experience of ten years or more in the practice of law.

 

2) A fee of $150.00 per hour for attorneys having experience of five to ten years in the practice of law, $125.00 per hour for attorneys having experience of three to five years in the practice of law, $100.00 per hour for attorneys having experience of less than three years in the practice of law, $45.00 per hour for paralegal services, and $25.00 per hour for law clerk services, as specified in the Maximum Hourly Fee Schedule of the Department of Justice dated January 14, 2008.

 

3) Notwithstanding the foregoing fee schedule, State will pay a fee of $100 per hour for all approved non-local (more than 30 miles one way) automobile travel by attorneys.

 

WHEREAS, the Board of Commissioners of the Caddo Levee District, pursuant to La. R.S. 42.262, does hereby retain and employ Jones & Odon, L.L.P. as special counsel; and

 

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the President or Vice President of the Board is especially authorized to enter into, on behalf of the Board, the said Professional Service Contract submitted herewith.

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Resolution and proposed contract described herein be submitted to the Attorney General for the State of Louisiana for approval.

 

The resolution having been submitted to a vote; the vote thereon was as follows:

 

YEAS: 6

NAYS: 0

ABSENT: 1

NOT VOTING: 0

 

Marshall Jones reported that commodity prices for oil and gas continue to be low and should be expected to remain steady for the foreseeable future due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. He also thanked the Board for the renewal of his professional legal service contract.

 

President Harrison had no report.

 

Mr. Mustapha reported that the Association of Levee Boards of Louisiana Executive Committee will be conducting the annual meeting on December 4. 2020 via Zoom due to COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. Mustapha also reminded the commissioners that the completion of the mandatory one hour of ethics is due by the end of the year.

 

Mr. Mustapha reported that the U. S. Army of Engineers has approved and funded the repairs for two levee slides (W. Agurs at Cadillac Street and W. Agurs Levee at I-220 and LA 538) and they requested that the Board’s President execute and furnish right of entry authorization form to allow the Corps staff to enter the site and perform the tasks required for the repairs. Mr. Mustapha also reported that Beaty Construction was hired to clear and mulch the North high bank of the C-6 Drainage Canal from Sand Beach Bayou to Youree Drive (LA-1) at a cost of $21,500.00. This high bank has been overgrown for several years and was very difficult to properly maintain. This will allow for better maintenance of the area and provide access to manage the growth of vegetation.

 

Mr. Mustapha also provided a written report that detailed the status and progress of all ongoing projects and the status of all open permits.

 

Ronald Lattier, Board Legal Counsel, was not present and had no report.

 

Sam Brimer, Forester, was not present. Mr. Mustapha reported that Mr. Brimer is still working on the tract in Rodessa and getting ready to do a controlled burn and complete preparing the tract for re-planting.

 

There was no Engineer’s Report.

 

There was no Personnel Committee Report.

 

There was no Legal Committee Report.

 

There was no Equipment Committee Report.

 

With no further business to be brought before the Board, Mrs. Smith made a motion to adjourn, with a second by Mr. Sims. The motion unanimously passed, and the meeting was adjourned.

 

President                                                                                                                                                                  Executive Director

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