Zachary discusses new city buildings

The City Council on Tuesday discussed the possibility of building new governmental buildings to house city offices, City Court and the police and fire departments.

The council voted unanimously to table the decision to go forward in order to give members a chance to examine the proposal submitted by architect Henry Carville.

Carville said the process would proceed in two stages.

The first stage would involve gathering data by discussing current and future needs with heads of the various departments. The second stage would be to come up with a schematic design and cost estimate.

“We’ve maxed out every building we have,” Mayor David Amrhein said.

Developing plans would give the city a better idea of what’s affordable and decisions could come later.

Planning and constructing the new buildings would be a five-year process, he said.

New facilities would make it easier for residents to do business with the city, since they wouldn’t have to “go to four or five buildings,” the mayor said.

Councilman Brandon Noel said the buildings would be located next to Zachary’s historic district and the city wants to make sure the new “meshes” with the old.

Other items discussed during the meeting included:

TECHNOLOGY PARK: The council voted unanimously to commit up to $250,000 for sewer service and $100,000 for a road to serve the proposed 70-acre Zachary Business & Technology Park on Plank Road near Lower Zachary Road.

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kate McArthur said the city needs to shake its image as a place to put people, not businesses. “Communities that don’t have development-ready sites are being left behind,” she said.

During the June 11 council meeting, the mayor said that ITT ProCast, an industrial parts supply company on Flanacher Road, had expressed interest in the proposed park for a planned expansion.

OCCUPATIONAL LICENSES: The council unanimously agreed to amend to the occupational license law, giving the city the ability to shut down businesses without licenses.

“We have 170 businesses right now that have not renewed their licenses for 2013,” City Attorney John Hopewell said. The new law would require businesses to pay $50 for the first year. The fee in additional years would be based on each business’ revenue with a “floor” of $50.