Hammond City Council has unanimously elected Councilman Kip Andrews as president and Councilman Sam DiVittorio as vice president for 2021.
The first item of business under Andrews’ presidency was holding a public hearing Tuesday regarding the annexation of the almost 17 acres at the northeast corner of Industrial Park and Shelton Road that Medline Industries plans to use for its 500-year storm retention pond.
The property, now owned by MRE HLA LLC, would also have a small employee parking lot on it.
The item passed 3-2 with conditional requirements being added by city attorney Andre Coudrain, similar to action taken when the adjacent property was rezoned for Medline’s planned distribution center.
Andrews, whose represents the district where the Medline property is located, and Councilman Devon Wells voted against the item while Councilwoman Carlee Gonzales and Councilmen Steven Leon and Sam DiVittorio voted for it.
ApprovalsAlso Tuesday, council members unanimously approved Pratt Industries’ tax exemption applications, which were previously approved by the Board of Commerce and Industry.
Tangipahoa Parish School System, Tangipahoa Parish Government and Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office have also agreed to the exemption.
Pratt Industries is moving to the area from Jefferson Parish, bringing along with it 51 current jobs and more as the company grows.
Of note, the company manufactures 100 percent recyclable boxes and will use the Hammond facility, to be located on Pride Drive, as a sheet plant to make its corrugated cardboard boxes.
Company representatives said the city offers them growth their landlocked previous location did not.
The City of Hammond was previously receiving only around $580 a year in property taxes for the property. With Pratt’s move to occupy the property, the city will now receive around $8,500 a year in property taxes.
The $7.2 million investment project will move the company from Jefferson to Hammond. It will bring over $2.8 million in relocated equipment that will be able to be taxed immediately, as well as $475,000 in inventory.
The council approved alcohol permits for Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and the downtown Split A Burger to start serving high/ low alcohol.
As part of a companywide transition, Cracker Barrel is adding single serve beer, wine and mimosas.
Only Split A Burger’s new downtown location will add alcohol, primarily beer, to the menu.
The council reappointed Jennifer White, Ryan Faulk, Jessica Shirey and John Exnicios to the Hammond Historic District Commission for four-year terms.
Councilman Devon Wells requested, on behalf of his constituents who have asked him, for more diversity on this commission, as well as the Downtown Development District commission.
“We’re going to have to start doing better than we’re doing, or we’re going to continue having problems that we’re having,” he said.
Administrator Lacy Landrum said it is a diverse board of race, age, occupation and interest in architectural experience and background.
She said board appointments under Mayor Pete Panepinto and this council are much more diverse now but said there is always opportunity for improvement.
Anyone interested in serving on the Hammond Historic District Commission board is encouraged to come forward as one vacancy needs filling, she said.