On June 26, the Joseph Cefalu Steam Plant transformer exploded and caught fire, and caused a power outage.
A utility bill surcharge of $2.25 per 1,000 kilowatt-hours used was passed at the December city council meeting to pay for installing a breaker in front of the new transformer when it comes in. The cause of the explosion has not been determined.
The new transformer itself was covered by insurance and cost $1.1 million.
Frank “Boo” Grizzaffi was elected mayor in a runoff on Dec. 8 against Lee Dragna in his second run for mayor after finishing second to Mayor Tim Matte in 2008. The five Morgan City mayoral candidates’ campaigns spent almost $79,000 for the primary election.
The new mayor and city council will receive pay raises from $54,000 to $63,000 and from $7,200 to $9,600, respectively. The raises were approved by the council in December 2011.
The new mayor and council will be sworn in Jan. 14 at the city court building.
Police Chief Marc Folse retired in September and then was named chief administrative officer after Lorrie Braus retired in December. City Councilman Luke Manfre did not run for re-election, and City Councilman and Mayor pro-tem Larry Bergeron ran for mayor, but did not seek re-election as a city councilman.
A recreational vehicle parking ordinance was introduced by the city council, but has yet to be passed. The planning and zoning commission must hold a public hearing before the city council can take any action on the proposed ordinance.
The ordinance would not allow the parking of boats, trailers or other recreational vehicles for more than 14 consecutive days on the street or unenclosed on a lot. The ordinance has been and will be discussed separately but, if approved, will be part of the city’s proposed land and development code.
The proposed land and development code includes a provision to prohibit “plain, metal building construction” of non-residential buildings by requiring three sides to have different architectural materials, such as brick or stucco.
Earl Meador was named the new director of South Central Louisiana Technical College, replacing Jimmy Sawtelle who left to become vice-president for Workforce Solutions, a statewide program. Greg Garrett retired from the Louisiana technical college system as regional director during the summer.
The Bayou Chene Flood Protection structure is in the planning stage by the St. Mary Parish Levee District. The structure will protect the eastern part of St. Mary Parish along Bayou Chene. The current estimate to complete the project is $75 million.
The Port of Morgan City signed a new tenant in early December. The new tenant, Inmobilaria Lamol LLC, a subsidiary of Grupo Lamol SA de CV, a Mexican company that has businesses in the United States, was created to operate the port.
Nestor Navarro will be the company’s representative at the port. The contract with previous tenant Cenac Offshore expired at the end of November.
Road work to improve Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard was completed in October after having been under construction since 2009.
The Morgan City Roadway Repairs and Improvements Project saw work done in several phases throughout the year.
Phase 1 included the overlay of Second Street, Sixth Street and Ditch Avenue. Construction was done by Huey Stockstill of Houma.
Phase 2 included concrete repairs on David Drive, Veteran’s Boulevard and Youngs Road. The project was done by Southern Constructors of New Iberia.
Phase 3 included concrete patching of Victor II Boulevard, from Greenwood to First Street, plus reconstructing the subsurface of the road.
Phase 4 included reconstructing the substructure and overlaying Federal Avenue from Levee Road to Barrow Street.
Phase 5 included fixing the remaining sections in need of repair on Victor II Boulevard, which began in October.
Phase 6 included the overlay of Victor II Boulevard.
Though the patching of Victor II Boulevard is complete, work is still being done to fix the “bed” underneath the road, said Public Works Director Mike Loupe at the December city council meeting.
During the year, the city appealed to leave the Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps the way they were instead of having to update the maps, as FEMA stated they needed to be, and thus having to raise the city’s levees. The appeal is still ongoing.
At the September city council meeting, the council passed a resolution of support for a Louisiana Energy and Power Authority project to build a new power plant serving 10 cities and is expected to be in operation by 2015. Support for the project is needed from nearly all 10 cities for the project to become a reality.
Construction of three cabins at Lake End Park are nearing completion and are expected to be finished by mid-January or early February, according to Morgan City Recreation and Culture Director Dwayne Barbier. A total of 18 cabins are planned for the park.