Public silent at hearing to voice concerns over Cleco settlement money

By Bill Sumrall
The Light

Zero.

Nada.

No one.

Meaning, at the Alexandria City Council’s public hearing regarding the city’s settlement with Cleco not one person signed up to voice concerns on how settlement money should be spent.

“Of course a few weeks ago, we concluded our case in the Cleco settlement. Our objective as we review this matter over the next few months is to know what your concerns are,” said Council President Roosevelt Johnson in opening the hearing.

Johnson had hoped to hear from citizens in how to deal with the $50.7 million city officials estimate the settlement would bring to the city.

According to The Town Talk, the city settled the matter by “agreeing to a new wholesale electric energy agreement. The agreement is for five years, with two one-year options for Cleco to make it a six- or seven-year-deal.”

While Johnson set the public hearing, Councilmen Harry Silver and Chuck Fowler believed such a hearing was premature.

In Tuesday’s meeting, there were about 14 people in the audience during the hearing and Johnson called for anyone present to come forward to offer comment.

After no one did, the hearing was concluded after about two minutes.

Afterward, despite no one coming forward, Johnson said the hearing was publicized through public notices but noted the first such hearing had been canceled due to conflict with another meeting.

Johnson said he felt this won’t mark the last time such a hearing takes place.

“I think one of the things the Administration will continue to do is work in the community with the Council to help us all collaborate to make the best choice, the best decisions, for the public, the citizens of this city,” Johnson said.

In other matters, the Council approved authorizing the mayor to enter into a contract with First Federal Bank of Louisiana for fiscal agency and banking services, on motion by Chuck Fowler, seconded by Jonathan Goins, with Myron Lawson abstaining and Ed Larvadain III voting no.

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