OPELOUSAS — The Opelousas Board of Aldermen decided Tuesday to hold a special meeting Thursday to discuss a proposed 10-year contract between Cleco Power and the city.
Frank Trosclair, an attorney representing the city in the negotiations with Cleco Corp., recommended at a Tuesday meeting that aldermen agree to the company’s proposal.
However, Trosclair said, the agreement was only faxed to him less than two hours before the start of Tuesday’s meeting.
Alderman Reginald Tatum said he wanted to review the document before any action was taken.
The city and Cleco have been negotiating an extension for the current 10-year contract since 2009. That contract between the city and Cleco is scheduled to expire Aug. 11.
Trosclair said the proposal he received Tuesday includes a $1.2 million payment by Cleco if the terms of the contract are signed by the city.
He said the proposal also indicates Cleco will pay $170,000 monthly in order to use the power lines that are owned by the city. Trosclair said under the current contract, Cleco paid the city a $142,000 usage fee.
Trosclair said the proposed contract does not address the monthly rates the company is charging customers, something which some aldermen asked be considered during negotiations.
“So what you’re saying is that nothing (in the contract’s rate proposals) changed,” Tatum said.
Trosclair said in the proposed contract talks, Cleco officials pointed out the company will charge the utility customers in Opelousas the same rate they charge rate payers in other municipalities.
The board decided to call a special meeting Thursday at 4 p.m. to consider the contract.
Other actions Tuesday night involved:
MAYOR PRO TEMPORE REMOVED AGAIN: For the second time in as many months, Mayor Donald Cravins Sr. broke what he said was a tie vote, removing Tatum as mayor pro tempore, again.
On Tuesday three aldermen — Julius Alsandor, Louis Butler, Jr. and Jacqueline Martin voted to remove Tatum, while Joseph Charles, Blair Briggs and Tatum abstained.
City attorney Pride Doran said he considered the votes to abstain as “no” votes based on a state Supreme Court decision on a similar vote in Pineville.
Tatum was removed as mayor pro tempore last month by the same vote. Following the June vote, Cravins also cast the deciding vote.
Tatum was temporarily reinstalled as mayor pro tempore on Friday, by 27th Judicial District Judge Donald Hebert, following a court hearing on Tatum’s civil lawsuit, which asked the court for a preliminary court injunction barring his removal in June.
Before Tuesday’s vote, several persons spoke on the matter, including Tatum, who denied the assertion at the June meeting by Cravins and Alsandor that Tatum has caused division on the board.
“I answer to my constituents, not the mayor and not this board. You can remove me over and over again, but I will continue to do what I think is right for this city,” Tatum said.