City departments to consolidate

By Bonnie Culverhouse

In an effort to save money and be more efficient, the City of Minden is planning to consolidate departments that fall under Public Works.

Council members have agreed to accept bids to construct a building near the City of Minden Steam Plant, inside fencing near the railroad tracks that cross Shreveport Road.

Minden Mayor Nick Cox said the consolidation idea came when he was training under former Mayor Tommy Davis. He said he was attending a meeting around Christmas 2022, when there was a major freeze.

“We were preparing for freezing pipes and water breaks,” Cox said. “I was told that in the past, we had the Light and Water Department answering phones – even on weekends, as well as the person working at the Steam Plant answering phones. Service orders went to the Water Department and some to Public Works for electricity.”

Cox said he talked with Public Works Director Tyler Wallace, and they felt there must be a way to consolidate these departments and make them more efficient.

While Light and Water billing will remain at City Hall, all other departments under Public Works, as well as Wallace and his assistant Kathy Newer, will be moved to a 3,200 square-foot building with a control center, conference room and offices for department superintendents.

“At this time, we have one person at the Steam Plant 24-7,” Wallace said. “He is alone on the third floor of that old building, that costs us $5,000 a month in utilities.”

The Steam Plant will be completely closed and Superintendent Russell Poole and other workers will be moved to the new building.

“Our plan is to cross train these people,” Cox said. “That way, everything is always covered – water, electricity, everything.”

An architect is working on plans, and Cox said the council expects to request bids by August, with the finished date projected as December, 2026.

While final numbers are not in, the energy-efficient building will be funded by ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act). City of Minden received a total of $4.2 million over two payments, however, the entire amount will not be used for the new Public Works Department.