Port Allen council thanks interim Mayor Robertson

Interim Mayor Lynn Robertson received a standing ovation and was thanked for her four months of service Wednesday night through a proclamation from the City Council.

Robertson was praised for improving the community, boosting morale for city employees and setting a path of positive change for Mayor-elect Richard Lee.

Robertson’s accolades came after the City Council on Wednesday night unanimously authorized her to hire an outside attorney to reignite the city’s annexation efforts and hire an architect to evaluate the structural integrity of the old City Hall building on North Jefferson Avenue.

“During my time here, my focus was on bringing a spirit of trust among officials and residents,” Robertson said. “On my first day here, I was visited by the councilmen and we got right to work on the budget.

“As we begin a new administration, I’m optimistic we’re beginning a new era. With healing comes new possibilities of understanding,” she said.

Robertson was appointed interim mayor in December following the recall of former Mayor Demetric “Deedy” Slaughter. Robertson previously served as the city’s first female mayor from 1993 to 2004.

Robertson will soon pass the torch to Lee following his win Saturday in the special mayoral race.

But before she leaves office, Robertson will spearhead the city’s revamped interest in annexation and in renovating its derelict former City Hall building.

City officials want to extend the municipal limits along the north end of Court Street to La. 415.

Robertson said the West Baton Rouge Parish Chamber of Commerce prepared a vacant lot in the area for commercial development.

She hopes annexation would curtail those plans.

“I want to annex it to protect the city from more industrial development,” she said. “I spoke with the attorney who handled our previous annexation effort for this, (and) he said he’s interested in continuing.”

Robertson said the architect she wants to hire for the old City Hall evaluation will make a structural and environmental assessment of the building, which the city hopes one day can serve as a new police station.

The city is trying to secure grant funding to help finance the renovation.