City Council approves Clarissa Brown-Smith as Chief Financial Officer

Caroline Roy | news editor
The city council confirmed a new chief financial officer at the council meeting on Monday.
This is Clarissa Brown-Smith who is currently director of tax services at Shriner Hospitals for Children in Shreveport where she has worked for nine years. It will start in the City in about 30 days.
Brown-Smith, who was at the reunion, was born and raised in Natchitoches. Her experience includes nine years as Chief Financial Officer and Acting CEO at the Natchitoches Outpatient Medical Clinic.

This article published in the print edition of February 17, 2022

Brown-Smith holds a degree in accounting from Louisiana College and an MBA specializing in accounting from Grand Canyon University. She is “nervous but thrilled” to have the opportunity to join the city government and plans to have frequent meetings with department heads.
Mayor Ronnie Williams Jr. said he believed Brown-Smith would have a team-supervising approach and that she liked that she had a “how can we get this done” attitude. He said she had direct experience in finance.
Brown-Smith said she would associate with others rather than being the “no” person. She is familiar with due diligence and documentation of grant applications due to her work at the Natchitoches Outpatient Clinic.
Advisor Dale Nielsen said Brown-Smith had a strong background in auditing and liked his “what can we do better” philosophy.
In other cases, the board introduced an order that will increase commercial industrial water rates for two consumers within the city limits, Northwestern State and Pilgrim’s Pride. Water rate study recommends water rate changes to be implemented over seven years with a rate of $2.20 per thousand gallons for the first year and a rate of $2.75 per thousand for the next six years. Utilities Director Matt Anderson said the increase came as no surprise since the city began negotiations with the two entities last June. The new rate will come into effect on March 1.
Another order introduced recommends leasing 97 acres to Russell and Mary Edith Stacy Farms for $3,500 per year from March 15 to December 31, 2024. The acreage is at 2738 Hwy. 494 on the west bank of Cane River. Purchasing manager Edd Lee said the lease generates revenue for the city that doesn’t have to maintain the property.
Another order introduced directs $500,000 from the US bailout to the Natchitoches Police Department. The order states that the money will be used for the employment of law enforcement officers focused on advancing community policing; enforcement efforts to reduce gun violence, including prosecutions; and the purchase of technology and equipment to support law enforcement response. Some of the money will target juvenile delinquency.
Proposed Ordinance 011 creates a River South Commons Economic Development District and creates a trust fund for additional tax increases for the district. The developers say the ordinance is needed to recruit new business to the mall’s South Drive location.
Draft Ordinance 012 details a cooperative effort agreement between the city and Chick-fil-A Inc. The company plans to build a restaurant at the corner of East Fifth and Keyser Avenue. The .DOTD requires the company to expand or improve the city’s existing infrastructure, including road extensions and undersea retention and drainage to mitigate stormwater impact.
The City will share site development costs of up to $100,000 for the construction of a secondary parkway on Keegan to facilitate traffic light access at East Fifth and Keyser. This will consolidate four existing curbs and the construction of sub-drainage projects.
The board will vote on the proposed ordinances at the next meeting.
Council passed Ordinance 006 to amend the budget to reflect an additional $8 million used to purchase power from CLECO.
The council proclaimed February Black History Month in the city. Marvin Blake Jr. was chosen to accept the proclamation. Blake has been an educator for 28 years and has taught American history and civics. He is proud that Black History is now a TOPS approved course in secondary schools.
The board passed three other resolutions in addition to the one appointing a new chief financial officer.
Resolution 013 approved a change order for a total of
$5,000 for phase 3 of street rehabilitation. It covered the cost of adding maintenance on rue Pavie. Resolution 014 executed a Certificate of Substantial Completion for Phase 3.
Resolution 015 authorizes the City to advertise a new 750 KVA three phase pad mount transformer. It will replace the one used at a Tesla charging station at the Exxon station on La. Hwy. 6.
The next council meeting will be on Monday, February 28. City offices will close on Monday, February 21 for President’s Day.

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