Sales Tax Santa Visits Lincoln Fire District

12/17/2014

Sales tax proceeds from oil and gas construction projects in Lincoln Parish gave a boost to the 2014 and 2015 budgets for the Lincoln Parish Fire Protection District No. 1, it was revealed at last night’s meeting of the district’s Board of Commissioners.

In the original budget, 2014 predicted revenues (from a 1/4 cent sales tax collected in rural Lincoln Parish and Dubach) were estimated at $425 thousand. However, after a significant jump in October collections, Finance Committee Chair Bart Dugdale upped the total year estimate to $619 thousand. After a bit of discussion the board revised the estimated revenues to $720 thousand, predicting that the November and December collections would also be higher than originally budgeted.

Most of the extra revenues were allocated to wages, retirement, and workman’s compensation, as those budgets had been in the red earlier this year.

Sales tax revenues for 2015 were estimated at $558 thousand.

See here the documents:

2014 Amended Budget
2015 Proposed Budget

Commissioner Richard Durrett cautioned the board against expecting the windfall revenues to continue, as the taxes are the result of construction projects that will one day end.

Said Durrett, “That’s not going to be forever, that’s just a short term – through the first quarter of next year.”

Durrett is the former Administrator of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ), and has had considerable experience in dealing with public budgets.

Ouachita Garbage Ordinances Introduced @ OPPJ

12/16/2014

Two new ordinances pertaining to solid waste and garbage were introduced at last night’s meeting of the Ouachita Parish Police Jury (OPPJ).

Ordinance 9060 will require:

Persons owning or operating places of business within Garbage District No. 1 of the Parish of Ouachita shall keep the business premises, including sidewalks, service alleys, parking areas, and areas adjacent to receptacles free from garbage, litter, and trash, and shall further prevent garbage, litter and trash originating in their places of business, or upon the premises thereof, from being carried by the wind, rain, or other elements onto any road or other public place or private property of another.

A $500 penalty is included in the proposed law.

Ordinance 9061 will require:

The owner of every occupied residential rental unit in Garbage District No. 1 of Ouachita Parish shall maintain a contractual arrangement that provides for the collection, conveyance, and disposal of solid waste from such residential rental unit by a franchise agent on a regular basis of not less than two (2) times per month. The
obligation of the owner may be satisfied by a contractual arrangement maintained by the occupant of such residential rental unit.

The fine for violations of this law is $100.

Ouachita Parish Garbage District No. 1 is comprised of all unincorporated areas of Police Jury Districts D and F, or all of juror Ollibeth Reddix’s district, and all of Pat Moore’s district, that is outside the city limits of Monroe and Richwood.

The two ordinances will be up for final adoption at the 1/5/15 jury meeting.

In other business, the jury approved a 2 1/2% cost of living raise for jury employees.

Lincoln Fire District Meeting Tonight

12/16/2014

The Lincoln Parish Fire District No. 1 Board of Commissioners will meet tonight (Tuesday, 12/16), 6:00 PM, Vienna Station, 4786 Hwy 167.

Here is the agenda.

Lincoln Detention Center Budget Adopted

12/15/2014

A $3 1/2 million 2015 budget for the Lincoln Parish Detention Center was adopted at Friday’s meeting of the Detention Center Commission, which is considerably more than it cost to operate the center when it was operated by LaSalle Corrections. Their last budget was about $2.2 million for the calendar year 2012. The Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office (LPSO) took over operation of the jail at mid-year of 2013.

See here the document.

Also adopted was the amended 2014 budget.

2014 Amended Budget
2015 Proposed Budget

Warden Jim Tuten reported on the ongoing projects at the jail.

Said, Tuten, “From what I understand, the fence, camera, light project will be finished by the end of this year.”

Tuten also noted that increased sales tax receipts should add to the jail’s revenues.

See also the minutes from the 9/21/14 meeting.

Ouachita Parish Police Jury Monday

12/14/2014

The Ouachita Parish Police Jury (OPPJ) will meet Monday, December 15, 5:30 PM, Ouachita Parish Court House, second floor.

Here is the agenda.

Lincoln Parish Detention Center Commission Meets Friday

12/11/2014

The Lincoln Parish Detention Center Commission will meet Friday, December 12, 10 AM, Lincoln Parish Court House, third floor.

Here is the agenda.

Proposals for New Monroe Auditor to be Taken

12/11/2014

Long-time City of Monroe external auditor Francis Huffman could be out of a job, after a 5-0 vote at Tuesday’s council meeting to accept proposals for the city’s required annual review of finances. The audit is a legal requirement of all public entities in Louisiana, and is usually contracted to Certified Public Accountants who are on a list approved by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor (LLA).

District One’s Ray Armstrong said he had put together the Request for Proposal with input from various sources.

Said Armstrong, “I got the RFP from several other cities, and then I looked at AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants), updated their regulations and requirements for this, and then got input from administration – legal and the city – and came up with this.”

The council’s action came after Huffman presented the 2013-2014 audit earlier in the meeting. The audit was unqualified, Huffman said, but did have one finding, and two management letter comments.

One of the comments referred to misuse of a city credit card, and the other noted the lack of a contract between the city and the transit system operator.

The finding regarded use of unlicensed contractors by the Community Development Block Grant program.

District Three’s Betty Blakes questioned Huffman for about twenty minutes regarding several issues.

Irate Lamy Lane Residents Fight City Hall

12/10/2014

Several dozen residents that live in the Lamy Lane/Broadmoor Blvd area of Monore showed up at last night’s meeting of the Monroe City Council to complain about construction of apartments in their neighborhood that they said resembled “WWII barracks.” The residents have created a Facebook page to chronicle the controversy – No Apartments in my backyard, Monroe La.

The area is in District Two, and is represented by Gretchen Ezernack.

Earlier this year, Monroe’s Planning & Zoning Commission and the City Council approved a change in the city’s zoning ordinances. However, the area’s residents claim the construction didn’t follow proper notification procedures.

Typical of the comments was that from L. J. Holland, who told about the hoops he had to jump through when he planned addition of a “mother-in-law” suite to his house.

Holland said that Planning & Zoning told him that, “We would have to put a sign out in front of our yard that there was a proposed zoning ordinance change, or whatever, and it had to be out there for a couple weeks prior to the meeting. And then, they told me I needed to canvass, go out in a two block area around my house and talk to my neighbors, and get them to sign a petition saying it was OK to do what I wanted to do.” He added, “It looks to me tonight, that if we had done that it this case, we wouldn’t be here tonight.”

Resident Julian Gray became emotional while addressing the council.

Said he, “I was able to make a down payment on a $275 thousand home. I woke up one morning and all the trees were gone (behind my house). I woke the next morning and they had concrete slabs poured. And this is what they built. That has decreased the value of my property by $50 thousand. And not only my property, but all the individuals that stood.”

Through tears he added, “Why’d y’all me like that? That’s all I’ve got in the world! Y’all shouldn’t have allowed that!”

According to the group’s Faceboook page a meeting will be held at 7 PM tonight (Wedensday, 12/10), Saul Adler Community Center, 3900 Westminster.

We will have additional reporting later on last night’s meeting.

K Street woos Mary Landrieu

12/10/2014

By Anna Palmer and Burgess Everett

Mary Landrieu may have lost her Senate seat, but the Louisiana Democrat is a hot commodity on K Street.

Several headhunters, veteran lobbyists and consultants said Landrieu’s status as a moderate Democrat and senior member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee make her a top recruit from Capitol Hill.

As the lame-duck session nears an end, another season begins in earnest — the annual dance of exiting lawmakers quietly reaching out to private-sector contacts and making the rounds at Washington law firms and lobby shops, with just a few weeks until the retiring or defeated lawmakers are out of a job. But even as a Democrat, Landrieu stands out among new retirees from a majority-Republican Congress.

“I think K Street would welcome [Landrieu] with open arms,” said Ivan Adler, a headhunter at The McCormick Group. “She’s extremely attractive to K Street because of her favorable views on business.”

As she spoke to supporters after her loss over the weekend, Landrieu said cryptically that she will “continue” to serve Louisiana, without offering any details. Since her defeat, she’s been absent from the Senate, missing several votes this week.

In particular, Landrieu’s strong defense of the oil and gas sector — an industry that spends tens of millions of dollars every year on influence-peddling — could provide the Democrat with entree not only to a law firm or consulting shop, but in-house at a company or trade association.

“The most likely person to be successful is Mary,” one head of a law firm’s lobbying practice said of this year’s crop of nearly 50 House members and dozen exiting senators.

Jackson Parish Hospital Investigation Ongoing

12/09/2014

A Louisiana State Police (LSP) investigation of payroll issues at the Jackson Parish Hospital in Jonesboro is ongoing and not yet complete, it was said today at a meeting of the hospital’s Board of Directors.

The board had hired a private investigator to look into alleged financial issues that they had first uncovered. When the dollar amounts appeared to be significant, it was decided that law enforcement should get involved. No timetable was given as to when the investigation would be completed.

The board went into executive session for about thirty minutes to discuss “strategic planning and personnel issues.” No votes were taken in the session, we were told.

Chief Financial Officer David Sanders noted that the hospital was “carrying on business” as usual. Administrator Lloyd Monger said that patient admissions for flu and pneumonia had increased as was normal for this time of year.

Notable at the meeting was Jackson Parish Police Juror Chuck Garrett (Ward 6). The jury appoints the members of the hospital board.

The next meeting of the board is set for Thursday, December 18, 2014, 5 PM, Jackson Parish Hospital Board Room, 165 Beech Springs Road.


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