The Ville Platte City Council, Tuesday, approved the low quote of U.M.S. of Hammond of $1.1 million dollars to install new state of the art electronic reading meters for water customers in the city. The meter upgrade is part of the on- going city water construction project that has been going on for the past year. U.M.S. will install approximately 3000 meters in Ville Platte beginning in July.
City Engineer Ronnie Landreneau said these meters will eliminate the need for meter readers. However, Mayor Jennifer Vidrine announced that no one will lose their jobs. Current meter readers will be given new responsibilities.
The new meters will send a signal to a receiving antenna installed on the water towers. From there the signal information will be relayed to the host location in another state where all the information will be stored for the city. The new meters will be able to inform the city of water leaks and other emergency data.
In connection with these new expensive meters, the city council is preparing to enact an ordinance setting a hefty fine for those found guilty of tampering or damaging these new meters. A public hearing is planned for June 11 at 4:45.
Mayor Jennifer Vidrine and the council was receptive to a proposal by Dr. Greg Ardoin to appoint a select committee to look at proposed zoning ordinances. Dr. Ardoin said the city is poised to grow. He felt Ville Platte could become like Lake Charles in the next few years by taking the proper planning measures right now.
A number of teachers and students were recognized by Mayor Jennifer Vidrine and the city council. The following were each presented with a plaque and a basket packed with local products.
The following teachers of the year were honored: Elementary Teacher-Aleah West of Pine Prairie, Jr. High Teacher- Kelly Bellard of Ville Platte High, and High School Teacher of the Year-Travis Fontenot of Pine Prairie High.
The following public school students were honored: Gehrig Harris, 5th grade student from Bayou Chicot; Mallory Landry, 8th Grade student from Bayou Chicot and Benjamin Bertrand of Basile High School.
The following Sacred Heart teachers and students were honored: Elementary Tesacher of the Year-Charles Mire, Wanda Joubert, High School Teacher of the Year, George Brown, support person of the year and Paula Dianne Fontenot, administrator of the year. Elementary student of the year was Evan Miller, Ellis LaHaye was Jr. High student and Abbie Marie Fontenot, Sacred Heart High student of the year.
Mayor Jennifer Vidrine publicly thanked the city work crews for their long hours in restoring gas service to city residents after a major gas line ruptured last week.
In other business the city council:
--approved the hiring of two new paid full time fire fighters: Kirk Fontenot and Bryan Duplechain;
--heard from Arthur Sampson who complained that the city is not following proper procedure under the open meetings law dealing with citizens wishing to comment publicly on issues that the city may vote on. He also complained that the city was targeting African Americans with its abandoned property and cars. He says the city is not enforcing the same law on certain public officials that have abandoned cars on their property.
--approved retail liquor permits for the Smoked Meat Festival in June and a new business: Chataignier Street Grocery.