Archive for the ‘City of Monroe’ Category

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.

Monroe City Council to Solicit Proposals for External Auditor

12/08/2014

Among the agenda items at Tuesday night’s Monroe City Council meeting is a resolution authorizing a request for proposal (RFP) to engage an external auditor. That the council has that authority and responsibility is plainly stated in the city’s charter

Section 2-08. – Independent Audit.

The council shall provide for an annual independent postaudit and, upon the favorable vote of at least two thirds of its authorized members, may provide for such additional audits as it deems necessary of the accounts and other evidence of financial transactions of the City, including those of all City departments, offices or agencies. Auditors shall be designated by the council, shall be without personal interest in the affairs subject to audit and shall be certified public accountants or a firm of such accountants. Each annual audit and any special audit shall be submitted to the council at one of its regularly scheduled meetings and shall be a public record, and a summary thereof shall be published at least once in the official journal.

Among the requirements stated in the resolution:

Audit of the Monroe City Court.
Audit of the Monroe City Marshal.
Audit of Economic Development Units, including the I-20 board.

Also, a representative of the auditor will be required to attend council budget meetings, and discuss issues with the council as directed.

See here the agenda and meeting information.

For the past several years, the audit had been done by Monroe CPA Luffy, Huffman, Ragsdale & Soignier.

The meeting is set for 6:00 PM, Monroe City Hall, 400 Lea Joiner Expressway.

Monroe City Council Tuesday

11/24/2014

The Monroe City Council will meet Tuesday, November 25, 6:00 PM, Monroe City Hall, 400 Lea Joyner Expressway.

Here is the agenda.

Monroe City Marshall in Violation of Budget Law

11/24/2014

A just-released audit from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor (LLA) says the Monroe City Marshall is in violation of the Louisiana Local Government Budget Act (LA RS 39-1301, et seq). The audit was performed on behalf of the LLA by West Monroe accountant Cameron, Hines & Company.

See here the audit documents.

Finding 2014-02 states:

Condition: The Marshal’s Office did not prepare and/or amend a budget for the fiscal year.

Effect: The Marshal’s Office is in violation of Louisiana Revised Statutes 39:1305-39:1311.

Cause: The Marshal’s Office was unable to adopt a budget due to Louisiana Revised Statute 39:1305 – 39:1311, which states that in no event shall a budget be adopted and/or amended proposing expenditures which exceed the total of estimated funds available for the fiscal year.

Auditors’ Recommendation: We recommend budgeting expenditures in an amount that would correct the fund balance deficit based on the projected income for the next fiscal year and maintaining a monthly review of income and expenses throughout the year to determine the fund balance and if there are any necessary changes to make in order to keep expenditures at the right amount.

Views of Responsible Officials and Planned Corrective Action: The Monroe Marshal’s Office agrees with the above statement. The budget was not prepared and/or amended due to Revised Statute 39:1305 – 39:1311, which states that in no event shall a budget be adopted and/or amended proposing expenditures which exceed the total of estimated
funds available for the fiscal year.

This is the second consecutive year such a finding has been made. It is not likely that any investigation or prosecution will result, as Fourth Judicial (Morehouse, Ouachita Parishes) District Attorney Jerry Jones contributed $1,000 to incumbent Marshall Wince Highshaw, Jr’s re-election campaign.

See here the document.

1-20 Board, Monroe City Council Meetings Uneventful

11/14/2014

Yesterday’s I-20 Board meeting and Wednesday’s meeting of the Monroe City Council were as unremarkable as any we’ve ever attended.

The I-20 Board stayed in executive session for all but five minutes of the hour and a half that they met. Chairman Otis Chisley said the members had to discuss some matters of a “sensitive nature.” Attending the closed session was a staffer from Denmon Engineering.

There were no reports on the drainage master plan, or the Cooper property development, even though both projects were listed on the agenda.

Board member Johnny Bryant asked earlier in the meeting that the board receive quarterly financial updates so that the members would know how much funding was available for future projects.

Wednesday’s Monroe City Council meeting featured only one item that was of significant discussion, the annexation of about five acres into the city that is located across Hwy 165 from CenturyLink.

There was some concern that the property annexation might jeopardize the city’s fire rating, as it is located more than 1 1/2 miles from a fire station.

Fire Chief Terry Williams said there are several buildings and facilities nearby that are within the city, and that the city’s fire department had a mutual aid agreement with the Ouachita Parish Fire Department.

Said Williams, “We have an automatic aid agreement with the Ouachita fire department. We don’t see a particular problem with that piece of property.”

It was noted that the advantage of the annexation was the additional property tax revenue that it will bring in.

I-20 Board Meeting This Afternoon

11/13/2014

The Interstate 20 Economic Development District’s Board of Directors will meet this afternoon (11/13), 4:00 PM, Monroe City Hall, 400 Lea Joyner Expressway.

Here is the agenda.

Monroe City Council Tonight

11/12/2014

The Monroe City Council will meet tonight (Wedesday, 11/12), 6:00 PM, City Hall, 400 Lea Joyner Expressway.

Here is the agenda and meeting information.

Monroe City Council Tuesday

10/27/2014

The Monroe City Council will meet Tuesday, October 28, 6:00 PM, Monroe City Hall, 500 Lea Joyner Expressway.

See here the agenda and meeting info packet.

Monroe City Council Tuesday

10/12/2014

The Monroe City Council will meet Tuesday, October 14, 6:00 PM, Monroe City Hall, 400 Lea Joyner Expressway.

Here is the information packet, including the agenda.


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