Sterlington Mayor Caesar Velasquez and Town Councilman Matt Talbert, at left.jpg

The Sterlington Town Council adopted an ordinance Tuesday setting a five-percent franchise fee for any arrangement between Sterlington and a public utility.

Town Council members approved the franchise fee for water providers during the council’s regular meeting.

Town Council member Zack Howse introduced the ordinance. Town Council member Matt Talbert seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous. Town Council member Brian McCarthy was not present at the meeting.

The franchise fee on water service providers mirrors the fee allowed under state and federal laws, according to town officials.

Monroe attorney Devin Jones, who serves as Sterlington’s legal counsel, said the franchise agreement would clarify any future agreements the town reaches with water companies.

“It’s just a codification,” Jones said. “We just coded it for the town of Sterlington to what federal and state law says. It adds clarity for any future agreements.”

In an interview with The Ouachita Citizen, Mayor Caesar Velasquez indicated he held some reservations about the franchise fee but admitted the franchise fee agreement would benefit the town.

“Just my personal aspect on it is, this is not something I really want to see but just to make sure we’re doing what we can to get the town of Sterlington fiscally stable again,” Velasquez said. “We’re going to go with this and make sure we are doing everything we can do to achieve this goal.”

Velasquez declined to specifically identify what he believed was a stronger agreement.

“I just want to believe that we are going to do whatever we can to cooperate and get the town in the right direction,” said Velasquez.

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