Archive for the ‘City of Monroe’ Category

$600 Thousand I-20 Donation to Delta Delayed

09/15/2014

Donation of $600 thousand of Interstate 20 Economic Development District Corporation funds for Delta Community College was tabled at last Thursday’s meeting until an opinion can be rendered by Louisiana’s Attorney General. The I-20 funds would serve as a match to augment other capital outlay monies financed by bond sales, and would pay for capital improvements at the facility.

According to Act 360, the enabling legislation, the matching funds are to be private money. As the funds that the I-20 board dispenses are derived from sales taxes, it is unclear how they would qualify for the match.

In his motion to table the issue, board member Johnny Bryant the board needed to know that the action was legal.

Said Bryant, “One recommendation I would make is that we ask our legal council Mr. Scott to submit that request to the attorney general for an opinion. And if it is legal, we need to also see if whether we have the funds to do that.”

Bryant’s motion passed unanimously.

In other business, the board heard a report from S. E. Huey’s Charles Taylor on their drainage study along the I-20 corridor within the district.

Taylor said the field word had been done, and he showed the board some preliminary aerial photos with the existing drainage structures noted. He said by the next meeting, a report with recommendations would be presented.

Taylor added that as the area developed, and more paving was done in the area, it was likely that additional drainage structures would have to be built.

Also, the board approved some change orders on the design work for the I-20 service road.

I-20 Board Meeting Thursday

09/10/2014

The Interstate 20 Economic Development Corporation Board will meet Thursday, September 11, 4:00 PM, Monroe City Hall, 400 Lea Joyner Expressway, Mayor’s conference room, second floor.

Here is the agenda.

Monroe City Council Tonight

09/09/2014

The Monroe City Council will meet tonight (Tuesday, 9/9), 6:00 PM, Monroe City Hall, 400 Lea Joyner Expressway.

Here is the agenda and information packet.

Mayo Didn’t Keep Word, Council Says

08/27/2014

Controversial Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo isn’t a man of his word, several Monroe City Council members alleged at last nights meeting.

The issue came up during discussion of a budget amendment, when District One’s Ray Armstrong asked the mayor to provide an accounting of progress on several projects Mayo had promised the council he would fund, in exchange for the council’s support of his budget.

Said Armstrong, “I would like to see a formal accounting of these things. We kept our part of the bargain, and I do want to make sure we’re all at the same table, in going forward to do the things that the council thought would be in the best interests of the public.”

In ordinance adopted on April 8 – and signed by Mayo – several items were listed, including additional police patrols, drainage improvements, sidewalk repairs, street lighting, and cemetery repairs.

See here the document.

District Four’s Kenny Wilson echoed Armstong, saying that drainage issues in his district needed attention.

Said Wilson, “One of the things is South Eighth Street – covering the ditches – there’s standing water.”

Mayo replied that “Any request that you come with, there has to be a funding mechanism. There’s not money falling from the sky.”

When Armstrong confronted Mayo with the document he had signed, he exploded into a tirade, even as Armstrong gaveled for order.

Ranted Mayo, “What I’m saying to you to, Mr. Chairman, I’ll say to the rest of you, we’re not going to allow a process to take place that has never taken place before. And you can take that to the bank!”

After Mayo’s fit, the council voted 3-1 against approving the budget amendment, with Armstrong, Blakes, and Wilson voting no, and Ezernack voting yes.

Worth Remebering

If Mayo continues with the attitude that he will spend taxpayer money when and how only he wants, he should consider that two North Louisiana mayors that used to think that way are now in jail.

Monroe Police, Fire Budgets Whacked

08/24/2014

Budget Summary crop

A proposed budget amendment to be considered at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Monroe City Council will, if approved, cut the Monroe Police Department and Monroe Fire Department budgets by over $1/2 million each.

The cuts are between four and five percent of the police department’s $13.3 million budget, and the fire department’s $13.4 million budget. The appear to be in the two department’s capital fund, which would be used to purchase equipment.

We will cover the 6:00 PM Tuesday, August 26 meeting at Monroe City Hall, 400 Lea Joyner Expressway, to see what is said about the budget amendments.

See here the agenda and related information.

Qualifying Begins for Area Political Offices

08/20/2014

Qualifying begins today for several area political offices. Among the offices to be decided on November 4:

City of Ruston Mayor
City of Ruston Board of Aldermen
Town of Jonesboro Mayor
Town of Jonesboro Board of Aldermen
Town of Jonesboro Chief of Police
Lincoln Parish School Board
Jackson Parish School Board
Ouachita Parish School Board
Monroe City School Board
District Attorneys – Statewide
District Judges – Statewide

Here is a link to the Louisiana Secretary of State’s website that updates as new candidates qualify.

Monroe City Council Tuesday

08/11/2014

The Monroe City Council will meet Tuesday, August 12, 6:00 PM, Monroe City Hall, 400 Lea Joyner Expressway.

Here is the agenda and information packet.

Monroe City Council Tuesday

07/21/2014

The Monroe City Council will meet Tuesday, July 22, 6:00 PM, Monroe City Hall, 400 Lea Joyner Expressway.

Here is the agenda and information packet.

I-20 Frontage Road Completion Nine Months Away

07/21/2014

The Interstate 20 Service Road between Sparks Nissan and Milhaven Road won’t be complete for another nine months, engineer Ron Haisty last week told a Thursday afternoon meeting of the Interstate 20 Economic Development Corp. Board of Directors.

Said Haisty, “I was told by one of the engineers at DOTD Tuesday that it was supposed to advertise (for construction) yesterday on Wednesday.” Asked how long construction would be, he added, “With all the railroad and everything, I would say nine months.

There is about thirty feet of roadway left to build, but it involves turn lanes at Millhaven Road and signal installation.

The board also voted to declare the remainder of the road “substantially complete.” There was considerable discussion about the issue of cracking of the concrete curbs, but it was noted that the construction was done in accordance with the plans and specifications, and that the plans had been approved by the city engineer.

The board deferred action on a request for $600 thousand from Delta Community College. Delta wants the money as a match to go with state capital outlay funds to be used for construction.

One of the requirements of the matching funds is that the money be raised from private sources, so it is unclear how I-20 would qualify, as the source of those funds is sales taxes.

See here the enabling legislation, ACT 360.

Each project set forth below shall require a no less than twelve percent private match. No project shall be financed until all private funds are available for that project.

Monroe Home Prices Decline Because of Crime, Realtor Assn Prez Says

07/17/2014

The average selling prices for homes on the north side of Monroe and adjacent communities have declined about $6 thousand over the past year, Northeast Louisiana Association of Realtors President Deanne Norman told a crowd of about 50 interested citizens and public officials this morning in Monroe. Over the same time period, home prices in the West Monroe area increased by about the same amount, she said. The perception that crime is a serious problem on the east side of the Ouachita River is a contributing factor, she said.

Said Norman, “The perception is ‘where is it safe?'” when clients ask about purchasing a home in the area. Norman said even on Louisville Avenue while shopping in the daytime, one must be on guard against potential threats. “We keep our doors locked (in our office) after a certain time,” she said. “Perception is reality,” she added.

The event was organized by Monroe City Council Chair Ray Armstrong (District 1) in an effort to combat what many see as a property crime wave in Monroe.

Echoing Norman was Rev. Roosevelt Wright, Jr. a prominent South Monroe Pastor and newspaper publisher.

Wright noted that while the Northside was plagued with property crimes, on the Southside the problem was shootings.

Said Wright, “We have to live where somebody’s getting shot. Every week since January, nearly every week there’s been a murder, a shooting, that’s going on on the Southside of Monroe. We’re not talking about somebody breaking into somebody’s house, we’re talking about somebody getting shot, somebody getting killed.”

Wright said he thought a lot of the violent mentality among youths was a result of popular video games that appeal to that age group.

Also, a dearth of youth activities in South Monroe resulted in people turning to gangs as a perverse form of recreation.

Armstrong said he would be pursuing grant money to establish a permanent group to study the issue and make recommendations.

Ouachita Parish Sheriff Jay Russell also spoke and reported on the issue. Russell said about 85% of the crime in the area was drug related.

Armstrong was the only council member at the event.


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