YEAR ONE: Mayor of Monroe Ellis reviews his accomplishments
MONROE, Louisiana (KTVE / KARD) – Exactly one year ago, Friday Ellis was sworn in as the city’s ruler. The mayor touts achievements in areas like infrastructure and crime, but admits the work has only just begun. Glancing in the rearview mirror, Ellis attributes his administration’s accomplishments, so far, to a hands-on approach with his staff and the people he serves.
On day one, Ellis says he faced his toughest challenge. Minutes after being sworn in, Ellis received the information about the excessive force case against the Monroe Police Department during the arrest of Timothy Williams.
“It was a difficult task for me on the first day. It’s still hard for me to think about it. To say that we had a citizen who was treated this way under our watch, by our officers. “
In October 2020, Victor Zordan was appointed police chief of Monroe, asking him to review the training and put more officers, not only on the streets, but actively present in the community. Part of this approach is M-PAC, a program that allows children to establish an early relationship with force officers.
“We need more officers on the streets, don’t we? Need them to patrol, need them trained. We also need them to be there, ”said Ellis.
On infrastructure, Ellis says up to $ 10 million has just been spent on sidewalk cleaning projects and more lighting is also on the way. Under the surface, sewer lines are another top priority for Ellis. He says funding is being finalized, with help from Congresswoman Julia Letlow, to repair a main sewer line.
“We usually notice that whenever heavy rains occur our drains are slow to drain, but it’s also a huge obstacle to economic development as we can’t put more capacity on this line, so if anyone one comes across as an economic development prospect that says “Hey, we want to have light manufacturing,” we can’t dispose of this sewage, ”Ellis said.
Solving the sewer problems would also lead to repairing ruined roads, Ellis explained.
“A lot of the road conditions we see now occur below the surface, so it’s not just a nice, milled little asphalt road, it’s the sewers below that are collapsing – the sewer and drainage lines that are collapsing. cause surface roads and wear and tear of course, ”said Ellis. “So what we want to do is start taking a closer look at where our crumbling infrastructure is. So when we build this new road, we’re not back two months later to cut it with a saw, fix the sewer line. You see a lot of that across our city because we’re an old city with crumbling infrastructure, so what we do is start talking about a whole project.
The city’s beautification efforts also translate into the fight against the scourge and Ellis says the city is taking a tougher stance against illegal dumping in neighborhoods.
“In part, we realized that we didn’t have all the equipment we needed, nor did we have the tools or mechanisms to prosecute individuals who are blatant illegal dumpers or owners of property. – they don’t keep it up. We worked with our delegation to pass legislation for the Environmental Court, where it’s now the teeth behind the citation. So if we come to you and cite you on your property, now you go to our environmental court. Now we have some leverage to say “you fix the problem or we raise your property taxes, or it’s your bill”. This is something that is essential because no one deserves to live in a neighborhood that someone uses as a dumping ground.
All of these efforts, the mayor hopes, are making Monroe a more marketable town for new businesses.
Ellis explained shortly after taking office, “What I realized very quickly is that there is a very short window for companies looking for certified sites. They want to know the mitigation of wetlands where the environment is taken care of. They now want where they can put the batons in the air fastest. And not just that, they need to know if you have a skilled workforce or a workforce pipeline. “
And in order to bring these new businesses here, Mayor Ellis says it’s an ongoing regional effort between the city, the parish and West Monroe. In August, a site selection guild will carry out a SWOT analysis on the city. Mayor Ellis also mentioned the hiring of an economic developer, an announcement that is expected to happen soon.
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