The Monroe City Council will meet Tuesday, November 25, 6:00 PM, Monroe City Hall, 400 Lea Joyner Expressway.
Here is the agenda.
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.
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.
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.
The most newsworthy item at last night’s meeting of the Interstate 20 Economic Development District’s Board of Directors wasn’t on the agenda – an update on the request by Louisiana Delta Community College for $600 thousand.
A requested opinion from Louisiana’s Attorney General on the legality of such a donation was rejected because it wasn’t submitted by Board Chairman Otis Chisley. The letter had been written by attorney Louis Scott, per a motion made at the 9/11/14 meeting.
Chisley said he would be sending a letter shortly. “We’re going to redo the letter and send it back, so we can make a formal request to see what their opinion is about the donation of the $600 thousand,” Chisley said.
The possible expenditure will have to be reconciled on what may be a lack of sufficient money to fund the request, according to a 9/24/14 story by the Ouachita Citizen’s Zack Parker. Wrote Parker:
The Interstate 20 Economic Development Corp.’s governing board has pledged to spend more money on ongoing and future infrastructure and economic development projects than it has at its disposal.
Prior to entertaining Delta’s proposal, the I-20 board had voted to commit some $16.5 million toward 15 projects though the corporation only has $13.9 million in the bank, according to the I-20 board.
In other business, the board heard from Gene Tarver, representing Cooper Truck Center, a business located at 6800 Frontage Road. Tarver said that owner Larry Cooper owned land adjacent to his business that he wanted to develop, and was asking the board to fund sewer and water service for the property.
Demon Engineering’s Chris Patrick said that his preliminary estimate was that the sewer line would cost about $82 thousand, and the water line would run about $30 thousand.
It was said the property appears to be within Monroe’s corporate limits, within the boundary of the I-20 district, and the request fit the description of the district’s charge for economic development. Chisley said the group would take the request under advisement and make a decision shortly.
About 1 1/2 hours of the nearly two-hour meeting was spent in executive session, discussing negotiations for right-of-way acquisitions.