Archive for the ‘City of Monroe’ Category

State Rep/Lawyer Loses Deadhead Job With Monroe

04/14/2014

A Louisiana State Representative and attorney who apparently did little work has lost her job with the City of Monroe’s legal deparment when her contract wasn’t renewed, according to veteran reporter Johnny Gunter.

Katrina Jackson (District 16) had been hired by City Attorney Nanci Summersgill at a salary of $33 thousand/year to handle workman’s comp claims.

However, when Gunter asked to see the documentation of hours worked that was required by the contract, Jackson refused.

Jackson’s office was in a city-owned building, and she paid below-market rent, according to the article. The city also picked up Jackson’s utility bills.

See here the complete article in The Ouachita Citizen.

This is a story you will never, ever see in the The Mayo Mouthpiece – The (Monroe, LA) News Star.

Monroe City Council Tuesday

04/07/2014

The Monroe City Council will meet Tuesday, April 8, 6:00 PM, Monroe City Hall, 400 Lea Joyner Expressway.

See here the agenda.

Another Secret Meeting of the I-20 Board Tonight

04/02/2014

Another secret meeting of the Interstate 20 Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors has been called for 5:00 PM today.

Here is the agenda.

West Monroe City Marshal, OPSB Audits: Money Missing

03/31/2014

Money seems to be missing at the West Monroe City Marshall’s Office. From the Louisiana Legislative Auditor:

West Monroe City Marshal William Guyton’s office could not find $3,300 it received for deposit during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013, the second time in recent years money to be deposited was missing, according to an audit released Monday by Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera’s office.

The certified public accounting firm of Cameron, Hines and Co. of West Monroe said in its report there were two instances in 2013 when cash was received and the individual given a receipt, but the money was not deposited into a bank account.

In the report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011, auditors said that approximately $42,000 had been taken from the office during a four-year period, but the cash was reimbursed.

Guyton’s office said in its response to the 2013 audit that it “has changed personnel and the process over cash receipts. Auditors recommended that the marshal’s office should continue to strengthen controls over cash receipts to help reduce the risk of misappropriations or theft happening in the future.”

Besides the Legislative Auditor’s Office, the marshal’s office has agreed to notify the Ouachita Parish District Attorney’s Office of the missing $3,300, the report said.

Here is the complete report.

Ditto at the Ouachita Parish School Board (OPSB), and also property at a couple of schools. From the Louisiana Legislative Auditor:

A 2013 audit of the Ouachita Parish School Board found that one employee was overpaid by $1,860 and a bookkeeper resigned after $2,517 in funds “could not be accounted for” between April 2012 and June 2013, according to a report released Monday by Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera’s office.

In its report, the Monroe certified public accounting firm of Luffey, Huffman, Ragsdale and Soignier said the bookkeeper at Crosley Elementary School resigned subsequent to the June 30, 2013 year-end audit. An investigation showed that more than $2,500 in concession fees, t-shirt payments and school registration fees were missing.

Auditors said that restitution has been made by the former employee, who was not identified in the report, and all funds have been returned to the school. The report prepared for the state auditor said that because of the small size of the school, the school secretary was also the school bookkeeper “who received funds, prepared deposits and posted receipt activity.”

The report also said that some of the Ouachita Parish schools are not properly maintaining their capital assets in compliance with property control policies.

At Richwood High, auditors said, the property control manager could locate only one of 19 items searched for, “leaving the remaining 18 items unaccounted for.” In a test of capital asset schedules for four rooms, the report said, there were items that were on the list of property and not in the room and equipment in the rooms that were not listed.

“One of the many exceptions we discovered included finding 36 Dell computers with monitors in a classroom that had a capital asset schedule of three items,” auditors said. The computers were not listed on the most recent property manifest, the report said. “We also noted a list of capital assets totaling $117,867 that did not have a room location listed,” it said.

At Shady Grove Elementary School, laptop computers bought for the library between 2009 and 2013 were not in the library, but were found in a different room, according to the auditor’s report. The school also had capital assets of more than $65,000 that did not have a room listed for the items on the equipment log.

See here the complete report.

It’s Not Just in Louisiana – Charlotte, NC Mayor Pinched

03/27/2014

Charlotte, NC Mayor Cannon resigns after corruption arrest

Patrick Cannon, who rose from public housing to become mayor of North Carolina’s largest city, was arrested Wednesday by the FBI and accused of accepting tens of thousands of dollars in bribes – including $20,000 in cash delivered in a briefcase last month to the mayor’s office.

Cannon, a 49-year-old Democrat who took office only four months ago, was scheduled to show up at a luxury apartment in SouthPark for yet another payoff from what he thought were businessmen needing his influence in city matters, the affidavit says.

But after arriving, Cannon learned who they really were, a source confirmed: undercover FBI agents who’d been recording their meetings over the past three years, long before he launched a campaign for mayor in 2013.

Cannon resigned as mayor Wednesday night, capping an extraordinary day that included allegations of an illicit trip to Las Vegas and payoff negotiations at the Capital Grille – the same uptown steakhouse that figured in the region’s last major political scandal. It was there that former N.C. House Speaker Jim Black of Matthews, also a Democrat, took bribes from a group of chiropractors seeking help with legislation.

Liquor License for Monroe Club Pulled From Agenda

03/25/2014

The application for a Class A Alcoholic Beverage Permit for the Washington Street Jazz Club was pulled from tonight’s agenda of the Monroe City Council.

No explanation was given.

However, documents obtained by Lincoln Parish News Online (LPNO) seem to verify that the facility is within the prohibition zone for alcohol-related business that are closer than 300 feet to schools or churches.

See here the documents.

The bar was the subject of a controversy last year when controversial Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo was seen at the bar during a campaign event for erstwhile Shreveport mayoral candidate Sam Jenkins. At the time, the bar was unlicensed.

Mayo-Backed Shreveport Mayoral Candidate Pulls Down
Monroe Mayor Mayo Spotted at Illegal Bar

We will have additional reporting later on tonight’s meeting.

Mayo Mouthpiece to Citizens: “Just Obey the Law”

03/25/2014

The hypocrisy of Monroe Mayor Mayo’s Mouthpiece – The (Monroe, LA) News Star – is endless. Today they are lecturing the taxpaying citizens to not drive over the speed limit. If you do that, they claim, you don’t have to worry about speeding tickets.

The editorial references House Bill 961 that would require any local governing authority that acquires 50% or more of its revenue from violations of speed limit laws be designated as a “speed trap,” and would have to post warning signs with blinking lights at the town limits.

See here HB 961.

The editorial appears to support the bill, which proves even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

But when does the Mouthpiece demand that public officials obey the law like they insist the taxpayers do? For example:

Two members of the previous city council for Monroe are in federal prison for bribery.
The previous sheriff of Ouachita Parish left office in disgrace.
The City of Monroe’s engineer is under indictment for payroll fraud.
The I-20 board continues to operate in what we believe to be an extra-legal fashion, with secret meetings and records that are not made public.

When do we see editorials and investigative reporting that addresses those kinds of issues?

Monroe City Council Tuesday

03/24/2014

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

Here is the agenda.

Up for consideration will be licensing for the Washington Street Jazz Club. That item was deferred at the 3/11/14 meeting.

Mayo Mouthpiece: Monroe Crime Problem is all in Your Mind, and Besides, It’s the Victim’s Fault

03/22/2014

Today, we have Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo’s mouthpiece – sometimes also known as The (Monroe) News Star – proclaiming the crime problem in Monroe isn’t really that bad.

The numbers show we’re no more unsafe than we were three years ago or five years ago.

And furthermore, all you haves can’t expect the have nots to refrain from thievery if you don’t lock your doors and turn your homes into fortresses.

It doesn’t hurt to properly light your home’s entrances at night or use motion-sensing lighting, and have a home security system if you can afford it.

See? It’s all your fault!

But, as we dispel the notion that the city is suddenly overrun by crime, we also encourage citizens to accept their responsibility in helping to prevent it.

Besides, you’re probably not paying enough taxes.

Monroe Property Owners Would be Hit Hard to pay for Mayo’s Civic Center

03/17/2014

One of the truisms of “journalism” is that trade’s famously celebrated ignorance about anything financial. One need only to look at the dying newspaper industry (and The (Monroe) News Star’s shrinking pages) to confirm that when it comes to money, they don’t know what they’re writing about, nor do they have a clue how wealth is created.

They view taking money from taxpayers to finance government pipe dreams as “economic development.”

And so it seems with the latest lunacy by Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo and their mouthpieces at the News Star for an $85 million, 10 thousand seat civic center. Nowhere in any story is mention made of how it is to be paid for, and how it will impact the taxpayer.

So we did the calculations ourselves.

First you need to know that using sales taxes to pay for construction is not an option, as the combined Monroe/Ouachita Parish sales tax rate is at 9.99%. By law, it can go no higher.

How much each jurisdiction collects, and for what it is dedicated can be found here.

So that leaves property taxes only as a source for money.

Monroe property owners need to know what taxes they now pay and for what the taxes go. Here is a table that depicts the figures.

2013 Property Taxes - City of Monroe, LA

2013 Property Taxes – City of Monroe, LA

The first column is what each particular millage is legally dedicated to, the second is the rate, the third is total taxable value of property within Monroe, and the fourth column is the amount of revenue seized from property owner over a years time.

Monroe property owners pay a total of about $10.8 million/year in taxes, with a millage rate of 27.15. A mil is 1/10 cent.

The figures come directly from the Ouachita Parish Tax Assessor.

See the complete document here.

If the $85 million cost of the project were to be financed through borrowing, the city’s $200 million debt would balloon to $285 million.

For a 20 year term, the city would pay about 4% interest on the money. That approximately is the present rate for a municipality with a credit rating of AA.

See here bond rates.

That calculates to to about $38.6 million in interest, with total of principal and interest of about $123.6 million. The payment required would be about $6.2 million/year for 20 years.

See here the calculations.

Bottom Line – $6.2 million/year in new taxes @ 15.57 mils tax rate

Civic Center taxes

Total millage and the corresponding tax bite for Monroe property owners would increase about 57%. Millage rates would go from .02715 to .04272, and the total taxes seized would rise from $10.8 million to $17 million.

The owner of a home within Monroe that is valued at $200 thousand would pay about $311 more/year in property taxes.

Of course the figures would vary if the cost of the civic center were more (or less), or if someone could be convinced to help with the financing.

So now you know.


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