Council opts to opt out

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Members of the Minden City Council made quick work of two time-sensitive agenda items during a special meeting Wednesday morning.

One agenda item was a proposition to opt in or out of the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness’ Temporary Housing and Shelter Assistance Program.

“If we opt in, this will allow people to put in mobile homes or RVs – temporary housing in their yards – in the case of declaration of a disaster in our area and without changing any of our laws,” said interim Mayor Tommy Davis. “The (Webster Parish) police jury opted out because you can opt in at any time.”

Davis went on to suggest the city council follow the police jury’s lead and opt out at this time.

“At any time we can turn around and opt in,” he added. “It’s something that would not affect us unless we had a major disaster.”

The council concurred, and with only District A councilman Wayne Edwards absent, they voted unanimously to opt out.

Webster Parish Homeland Security Director Brian Williams said the opt-in process is not difficult.

“There are still some rules being developed by GOHSEP regarding this program, but currently an entity can change its status at any time by completing the form again,” Williams said.

He added there is no waiting period for approval of the form, and there would have to be a presidential declaration for the program to be enacted.

“The small disasters we have had in our parish wouldn’t qualify,” he said. “It would be something of great magnitude that affects multiple parishes.”

The council also voted unanimously to adopt a Citizen Participation Plan for the Community Development Block Grant Program.

“This is just the first step in a grant for street overlays,” said Davis, who added the street names are unknown at this time because there is a survey process to be conducted.

“We have some (street) suggestions,” he said. “There are plenty that can be done.”

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