Monday, August 12, 2013

Council looks to override Mayo's veto: Monroe Regional Airport (KMLU), Louisiana

The Monroe city council has a number of items on Tuesday’s agenda that could involve some heated discussion, including action on four items Mayor Jamie Mayo vetoed, and the purchase of two tractors for Monroe Regional Airport the council rejected previously.

Last month Mayo vetoed four ordinances approved by the council on July 9. To override the mayor's veto, the council needs a two-thirds vote, or a total of four votes.

Two ordinances deal with the Interstate 20 Economic Development Commission. One limits the mayor's authority to remove directors from the Interstate 20 Economic Development Commission's board of directors. The other is an ordinance to limit the authority of the I-20 board to conduct closed meetings.

Mayo said he vetoed these ordinances because the city council doesn't have jurisdiction over the I-20 board, a private, nonprofit board not governed by the city, even though it has a close relationship with the city for economic development.

Regarding the ordinance to limit the mayor's authority to remove members of the I-20 board, Mayo said a recent ruling by 4th District Judge Daniel Ellender said the mayor will continue to have the authority to remove members from the Interstate 20 Economic Development District board, including council appointments.

Mayo said the administration may pursue legal action if the council approves the two I-20 board ordinances.

“We’ll wait until after the city council meeting to see how we may move forward,” Mayo said.

Mayo also vetoed an ordinance to give the council the authority to approve temporary and permanent department heads selected by the administration before they're hired.

Councilman Dr. Ray Armstrong contends the council has authority under the city charter to approve department heads, including interim department heads.

The fourth vetoed ordinance would allow promoters to label their event as family oriented or adult content, which Mayo said could result in promoters improperly labeling their events and causing legal issues for the city.

Monroe Regional Airport officials also plan to bring back an equipment request the council denied in May.

Airport officials wanted to purchase a Chevrolet Tahoe for $28,676 and two tractors for $98,919 off state contract.

Council Chairman Eddie Clark said the council would consider the request if the Tahoe was removed.

The new request only includes the two tractors.

The airport has 2,600 acres of property to maintain, and airport manager Ron Phillips said the airport's tractors are more than 12 years old and frequently require maintenance.

The Federal Aviation Administration inspects the airport annually, and Mayo believes the equipment is needed to ensure a good review.

The FAA mandates the airport keeps grass cut appropriately along the airfield, Phillips said. High grass can create safety concerns by providing a habitat for birds, which can affect aircraft operations.

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