The LaMATS Board of Directors discussed piloting two new services, brownfield environmental assessments and franchise fee audits, at this week's regular meeting.
The first new service, approved by unanimous vote to launch as a pilot in 2020, will provide a limited number of free brownfield assessments to identify properties in need of environmental remediation (such as abandoned gas stations), an important part of the larger blight issue facing communities across the state.
The second service will benefit participating municipalities by reviewing long-term franchise fee agreements (e.g., with local power companies and telecommunication service providers) to determine if changes to law, customer base or other factor might indicate increased revenue potential. The topic spurred lively debate and general agreement as an important consideration for Louisiana local governments. LaMATS President Mayor Jennifer Vidrine encouraged her fellow Board members to allow staff to further develop this service: "We wanted to see if this issue piqued your interest," said Vidrine, "and I think we have our answer!"