Dumpster Shuffle Discussed @ Lincoln Police Jury

02/10/2016

A touchy subject was discussed at last night’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury’s (LPPJ) Solid Waste Committee – consolidation and relocation of the parish’s trash dumpsters, although no decisions were made or action taken.

In the past, this issue has caused some jurors to get significant feedback from their constituents.

Committee Chair Walter Pullen (District Six) said that the parish needed to consolidate into more “mega-sites”, and decrease the number of dumpsters scattered around the parish. There are about 70 dumpster sites now, Pullen said, but only 4 or 5 of the mega-sites.

However, Pullen said, the solid waste tax doesn’t provide the funds to do door-to-door pickup, even though some people favor that method of collection.

Said Pullen, “We only have about $750 thousand, and the Police Jury can’t pay for door-to-door pickup.”

It was also pointed out that private vendors now provide that service, namely Waste Management and North Louisiana Waste.

District Four’s Randy Roberson noted that a problem is that adequate mega-site locations are not easy to obtain. While the idea is good, not everyone is comfortable with a dumpster site down the road from their house, it was noted.

Nancy Wison (District Ten) said that some of her elderly constituents would have a hardship if dumpsters were too far removed from their home. Also, it was noted that the City of Ruston would soon be cutting door-to-door pickup from twice a week to once.

Also mentioned was the lack of enforcement by the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office for people who scatter trash at the sites after rooting in the bins for salvage.

At the full jury meeting, Stable Road resident Tommy Sizemore spoke about speeding issues on that parish owned road. While the limit is posted at 35 mph and 45 mph, many vehicles exceed that speed, Sizemore said.

It was noted that the jury only could set the speed limit, enforcement was up to the sheriff’s office. Though no action was taken, there was talk of a letter from all the jurors, or a resolution that could be forwarded to Sheriff Mike Stone requesting help.

Several appointments to local boards were made, with one notable resignation.

Juror Nancy Wilson resigned from the Lincoln Parish Sales & Use Tax Commission, after she was refused appointment to the jury’s Finance Committee. District Twelve’s Annette Straughter was appointed to replace her on the commission.

Ruston City Council Approves Tax Increase Vote

02/09/2016

Ruston’s Board of Aldermen approved a resolution calling an April 9 special election to raise the city’s sales tax by 3/4 cents at last night’s meeting. Making the motion was Angela Mayfield (Ward 2), and seconding was Carolyn Cage (Ward 1). Also voting for the motion was Jim Pierce (Ward 4) and Bruce Siegmund (Ward 5). Jedd Lewis (Ward 3) was absent.

The tax is expected to collect from taxpayers over $4 million/yr for 20 years, with the proceeds going toward various infrastructure projects. Also in the plan is a new $15 million sports complex off South Farmerville. The existing facilities would be replaced.

See here the plan.

Moments later, the council voted to award a local business, Timeless Treasures Originals, a tax break for restoration and renovation of it’s building at 103 North Trenton.

That resolution also passed on a 4-0 vote.

In other business, Mayor Ronny Walker recognized Lincoln Builders as the Employer of the Month.

Byrd Lee Minter Jr.

02/07/2016

Funeral services for Byrd Lee Minter, Jr., 83 of Monroe, LA will be held at 4:00 P.M. on Sunday, February 14, 2016 at First Assembly of God in West Monroe, Louisiana under the direction of Mulhearn Funeral Home, West Monroe with Pastor Shane Warren officiating. Visitation will be held from 3:00 P.M. until service time on Sunday. A Friends & Family Fellowship will immediately follow the service in the fellowship hall.

Interment will be at Prairie View Cemetery in Aransas Pass, Texas under the direction of Charlie Marshall Funeral Home on Saturday, February 20, 2016. Visitation at the Charlie Marshall Funeral Home will be from 11:00 A.M. until 1:00 P.M. with a memorial service at 2:00 P.M.

Byrd was born May 8, 1932 and passed from this life on February 4, 2016.

As a boy, Byrd began working as a deck hand for his father’s deep-sea fishing charters and rowing duck hunters to the family-owned duck blinds for 50 cents. After graduating from Southwestern Assemblies of God High School and College in Waxahachie, TX, Byrd served his country with the U.S. Coast Guard based out of Anchorage, Alaska during the Korean War. Upon leaving the service, Byrd attended and graduated from Texas A&I in Kingsville, TX with a Petroleum Engineering degree which led him to a working career with Southern Union Gas in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Dallas, Texas then to North Carolina Gas Company of Fayetteville, North Carolina, and then to Ford, Bacon & Davis in Monroe, Louisiana.

Leaving the corporate world in 1979, he ventured into entrepreneurial endeavors which returned him to what he loved; the water. Byrd and Jonell bought a boat marina, Buckeye Landing, on Toledo Bend, near Many, LA. Then, in his retirement years, Byrd worked as a consulting engineer to numerous surrounding municipalities and owned a small service business, LitterVac of Monroe. He enjoyed connecting with people through church, family, friends and his involvements with local political and public groups. Those who knew Byrd, also known as “Mr. B”, knew he was always looking for an ear to bend, whether to brag of his 32-point, 267 ¾ point typical mule deer that landed him in “the book” – Boone and Crockett, or to tell of his days as a deck-hand on his father’s boat serving Vice President LBJ, movie stars, and foreign diplomats. He was introduced and proclaimed by The News Star as a watchdog of local politics often writing letters to the editor and speaking before the City Council and Police Jury where he always stood on his principles.

Byrd was preceded in death by his mother, Lena Lucile Richerson; his father, Byrd Lee Minter, Sr.; and his brother, Garland E. Minter.

Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Jonell Dierlam Minter; four sons, Randy Minter and wife, Paula, Mike Minter and wife, Virginia, Darryl Minter and wife, Donna, Joel Minter and wife, Alicia; grandchildren, (Randy’s) Trever Minter and wife, Jen, Tracey Hinton and husband, Jack, (Mike’s) Chris Taylor and wife, Angie, Cindy Williams and husband, Donnie, Scott Taylor, Marc Minter and wife, Cassidy, Thomas Minter and wife, Annelise, Eric Minter, Maria McMillan and husband, Chance, Trisha Stroud and husband, Danny, Joseph Minter, Becky Minter, Debi Minter, (Darryl’s) Chase Minter and wife, Rebecca, Daralyn Pepmiller and husband, James, (Joel’s) Ben Minter and wife, Jessica, Rachel Minter, and Sarah Minter; and 15 great grandchildren with two more on the way.

In Lieu of Flowers, donations can be made to the building construction fund of First Assembly of God, 715 Cypress Street, West Monroe, 71291.

The family would like to give their heartfelt appreciation to The Oaks nursing home staff and aids, especially to those who went above and beyond their duties, with special thanks to Leroy.

Online Registry/Condolences: http://www.mulhearnfuneralhome.com

It’s for the Children, 2.o

02/05/2016

After our report last month comparing costs at Lincoln Parish schools vs Cedar Creek, we decided to delve further into where the money goes in the local public school system.

According to figures from the latest audit, about half the employees are classroom teachers.

From page 179, the report claims the teaching staff to be 475.

See here the document.

From page 176, the total number of employees is reported to be 963, as of mid-2015.

See here the document.

See here the complete audit.

The latest employment numbers from the school board are reported thus:

592 Full Time Certified
1 Part Time Certified
247 Full Time Non-Certified

147 Part Time non –certified (time sheets)
5 Part Time certified (time sheets)

118 sub teachers (some certified, some non-certified)

Auditor Warns Again on School Board Retirement Shortfall

02/03/2016

A year after warning the Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB) that it wasn’t funding employee retirement and health care programs sufficiently, Allen, Green & Williamson’s Amy Tynes was back again this year with similar warnings.

Tyne presented the annual audit at yesterday’s meeting of the board at Glen View Elementary.

Said Tynes, “The total liabilities were $208 million. And you’ll notice if you compare this to last year, its around an $89 million increase. The past several years, we’ve had to record a liability on the books for that health care part of that promise. This year, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board came back and said we want to see what the dollar amount for the pension part that you’re promising your individuals, and that hit full force this year.”

She added, “For 2015, $54.8 million, that is how much on the books for your health care portion.”

Tynes said that the problem wasn’t isolated to Lincoln Parish, and that all the school districts in the state were not funding the programs nearly enough.

As far as daily operations, the Lincoln District audit had no findings, and showed the system to be in good financial shape.

In other reports, Business Manager Georg Murphy reported that the January Sales Tax collections are still greater than last year’s.

However, we noticed the increases are beginning to slow down, likely a result of the slowdown in the oil & gas activity in the area.

Murphy also said that the year was “horrible” for the health care insurance fund, but that recent increases in the deductible and copay rates hopefully would stem the red ink.

New Jackson Parish Tax Administrator has Dual Officeholding Conflict

02/02/2016

The just-hired administrator for the Jackson Parish Sales & Use Tax Commission apparently has a conflict with Louisiana’s “Dual Officeholding” Statutes.

Nia Evans, hired by the board last Friday, also serves on the Town of Jonesboro’s Board of Aldermen as Alderman-at-large.

According to LA RS 42:63:

D. No person holding an elective office in a political subdivision of this state shall at the same time hold another elective office or full-time appointive office in the government of this state or in the government of a political subdivision thereof. No such person shall hold at the same time employment in the government of this state, or in the same political subdivision in which he holds an elective office.

It appears Evans will either have to resign her council seat, or find another job.

The law’s Declaration of Policy (LA RS 42:61) states:

A. It is essential to the maintenance of a democratic society that public officials and employees perform the public business in a manner which serves to promote and maintain in the general citizenry a high level of confidence and trust in public officials, public employees, and governmental decisions. The attainment of this end is impaired when a public official or employee holds two or more public offices or public jobs which by their particular nature conflict with the duties and interests of each other. The attainment of a high level of confidence and trust by the general citizenry in public officials, employees, and governmental decisions is further impaired by the excessive accumulation of governmental power which may result from public officials or employees holding two or more public offices or public jobs.

Jackson Parish Tax Commission Issues Emerge

02/01/2016

A Friday (1/29/16) Noon meeting of the Jackson Parish Sales & Use Tax Commission called to hire a new Administrator may not have followed proper procedure, Lincoln Parish News Online has learned.

The board hired Mia Evans to replace long-time administrator Debra Jackson.

However, the board failed to allow public comment prior to a vote to go into executive session, or prior to the actual vote on the hire, sources have told LPNO.

The board is comprised of Town of Jonesboro Mayor James Bradford, Village of Hodge Mayor Gerald Palmer, Jackson Parish Police Jury President Todd Culpepper, Jackson Parish School Board President Melissa Perry, and school board Treasurer James Odom.

Nominating Evans was Culpepper, and seconding was Palmer. No other applicants were nominated.

It is also unclear whether the position was properly advertised prior to the selection, and whether any interviews were conducted with the several other people who did apply for the job.

Ouachita Parish Police Jury Monday

01/31/2016

The Ouachita Parish Police Jury (OPPJ) will meet Monday (2/1/16), 5:30 PM, Ouachita Parish Courthouse, second floor.

Here is the agenda.

March 4 Court Hearing in Ouachita Judge Coverup Case

01/28/2016

Court date set in Palowsky v. Campbell

By Zach Parker

An ad hoc judge presiding over a Monroe businessman’s lawsuit against Fourth Judicial District Court officials has ordered counsel to present arguments at a hearing in early March.

However, retired Judge Jerry Barbera indicated he likely would not allow other forms of evidence such as witness testimony during a hearing that’s scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on Friday, March 4.

Ouachita Parish Police Jury

01/26/2016

It was as routine a Ouachita Parish Police Jury (OPPJ) meeting as we have ever covered last night. Routine resolutions were passed, and there was but one visitor who told the jury of road and culvert issues in his neighborhood, which the Public Works Department promised to correct in February, weather permitting.

However, it seems the jury is proud owner of a residential property on Raymond Drive.

The property was acquired twelve years ago when the jury bought up some right-of-way, in anticipation of Phase III of the Fink’s Hideaway Road project. Of course, with the ownership of a house comes all the responsibilities of renting – upkeep, rent collections, etc.

Upon hearing all this discussion, new District B juror Jack Clampit asked, “Let me understand why we’re in the rental business on this house?”

It was explained that once a governing body buys right-of-way, it made sense to hold on to it until the project is completed.

Said Walt Caldwell (District C), “It’s right-of-way preservation. You don’t want to get rid of right-of-way once you acquire it.”

All the jurors lamented that the project’s completion might be many years in the future.


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