Ruston City Council Monday

03/01/2015

Ruston’s Board of Aldermen will meet Monday, March 2, 5:30 PM, Ruston City Hall, 401 North Trenton, first floor courtroom.

See here the agenda.

Among the agenda items is review and action concerning substandard structures.

Here is the memo.

Ouachita Parish Police Jury Monday

03/01/2015

The Ouachita Parish Police Jury (OPPJ) will meet Monday, March 2, 5:30 PM, Ouachita Parish Court House, second floor.

Here is the agenda.

Monroe Audit Budget to Become Council Responsibility

02/27/2015

Perhaps the most notable occurrence at last night’s meeting of the Monroe City Council in a budget hearing was the revelation that the line item for external audit expense had been moved from the administration category to that part of the budget under the control of the council.

What that means is the council will be responsible for hiring the auditor that does the annual financial report for the city.

Formerly, the administration hired the auditor, and the council approved the hire.

Otherwise, the council spent the meeting going over dozens of budget line items, asking questions about revenues and expenses, with little out of the ordinary.

Fielding most of the questions were Budget Director Curtis Heard, Director of Accounting Stacey Haynie, and Director of Administration David Barnes.

At the beginning of the meeting, Council Chair Ray Armstrong (District 1) noted that the purpose of the hearing was to provide the council and the public with in-depth information about the budgeting process.

Said Armstrong, “One of our major functions is to review and control and pass the budget.”

Notable in the audience were two former Legislative Auditors, David Greer and Alan Brown.

Greer was most recently the Fiscal Administrator appointed to oversee the Town of Gibsland, and Brown was often seen in the courtroom during the trial of former Jonesboro mayor Leslie Thompson.

Shreveport Councilman Wants AG Opinion on City Attorney Conflict; Situation Similar to Monroe

02/27/2015

Newly elected Shreveport District A Councilman Willie Bradford has asked the Louisiana Attorney General (AG) for an opinion regarding the conflicting duties of the City Attorney.

See here the document.

Bradford notes in his request that the City Attorney is appointed by the mayor and approved by the council. That individual represents the city, rather than the council or the mayor specifically, and serves at the pleasure of the mayor, Bradford wrote.

Bradford went on to say that the council is not afforded the conflict-free legal representation contemplated by Rule 1.7 of the Louisiana Rules for Professional Conduct for attorneys.

The situation in Shreveport is strikingly similar to that of the City of Monroe, where that city’s attorney supposedly works for both the mayor and the council, per Section 4-02 of the Monroe City Charter.

The Monroe City Council has entertained the idea of hiring its own attorney in the past.

Lincoln School Superintendent Applications Held Open

02/27/2015

The application deadline for Superintendent of the Lincoln Parish School District will be held open until 4:30 PM today, Friday, February 27, Lincoln Parish News Online was told this morning.

As the Central Office was closed for most of the week because of the weather, it was decided that the deadline should be extended from the original Wednesday, February 25, 4:30 PM deadline.

Tax-and-Spend Caddo School System Challenged

02/26/2015

February 26, 2015

They did it again!

That’s my take on the weather-threatened Tuesday evening gathering at Shreveport’s Broadmoor Presbyterian Church, sponsored by “BNA,” the Broadmoor Neighborhood Association.

Most else in town had been cancelled, but the event sponsors never blinked. Eighty-plus folks dodged the ice, ignoring threats of even worse for that later that night, specifically to hear the opposition case on the Caddo Parish School Board’s bond proposal set for a May 2nd vote. The event was put together by BNA members Rob Broussard and Ken Krefft, with an assist from Linda Talbert and Lou Burnett, not to mention involved church members.

For those who do not know, such a response here is very rare these days. Regardless, as those involved in our community have long known and understood, even if the rest of Shreveport is asleep at the wheel at any given point in time on any given issue, our vehicle of community interest can always be found in that heart-of-Shreveport driveway in Broadmoor, purring engine and BNA driver ready to put it in gear.

I have not personally seen a more invested group of attendees for such a purpose, with the possible exception of South Louisiana audiences I addressed the year after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Shreveport certainly has not suffered in that way, and our hit traces to no act of God. Still, after thirty years of population out-migration and resulting economic stagnation, community involvement in local government is nowadays best described as a silent and studied disinterest.

Somehow, though, the Caddo Parish School Board’s subject attempt to borrow $108,000,000 to build more stuff – mainly a $24,500,000 new school in its highest-income area – is an exception. The BNA meeting presented this argument in opposition: handing these folks another hundred-million-plus of our hard-earned dollars is a kind of Aggie joke, no offense meant to Aggies. After all, the system is infamously bloated with brick-and-mortar, will right-size only if forced by taxpayers to do so, and features far too many administrators who work against the citizenry as if such is their life’s calling.

Note the recent and related bit of official action which highlights, yet again, the school board’s legendary arrogance and disregard for taxpayers. The CPSB gave Superintendent T. Lamar Goree, in his job less than a year, a $50,000 raise over the next two years, plus a signing bonus of $10,000. Once these increases are in his pocket, his salary will be $15,000 less than that of Louisiana State Superintendent John White. With Goree’s car and benefits added, there is likely no difference.

As I detailed Tuesday night, it is increasingly clear that the real deal in all of this is the taj mahal of schools planned for Southeast Shreveport. The #1 hawker of the deal is its former loud opponent, CPSB member and real estate agency owner, Barry Rachal. It took the Louisiana Legislative Auditor to call bullfeathers on this stinker back in 2002, and that was for an $8,000,000 version of the school.

The CPSB, costing us 76.00-mills of Shreveport’s Louisiana-highest 180.00-mill property tax, is our most insidious tax-and-spend machine. To the CPSB, there is literally no limit to its self-defeating fervor to tax property owners as necessary to run them out of here.

One of many stinging facts from my most recent research on the subject (SEE all tables here) is that the school board has raised its tax on property owners by 110.9% since 1983, more than double the 52.2% increase by the East Baton Rouge system, the one most directly comparable to ours. The school board could broaden the tax base by a partial tax swap with its below-state-norm sales tax, but refuses to.

(I trust readers will note that the tables of data linked above are facts, i.e., absent opinion. It is the position of Dr. Goree, as publicly pronounced via the news media, that my work is mere opinion. I cannot even credit him with originality since he is parroting Shreveport City Councilman Michael Corbin, another public official perturbed by my research.)

A key fact, staring at us from just across Red River, is that Caddo’s population is down -3.7% since 1986, while Bossier’s is up +38.6%. Property taxes there are half what they are in Caddo, most of which is attributable to the school board.

Put directly, taxes must only go DOWN, for years, if Caddo and Shreveport care to be saved.

Objective measures of the state department of education confirm how poor a job the CPSB does in educating our children. At the same time, other objective measures prove how awesomely great it is at running people out of here. Yes, it has help from the Caddo Commission and Shreveport City Hall – now led by a former CPSB superintendent – but the bulk of the damage traces to the school system. That does not include the vast majority of teachers, however … a fact well-known to most of us.

This “new” plan is nauseatingly familiar: preserve all taxes, mainly to benefit only those who will profit from the school board spending $108,000,000. That, of course, is only a redistribution of taxes paid by property owners to small and select few who profit from how that boatload of cash is spent.

The CPSB offers a 6-step plan. Acting in solidarity with the Caddo Commission and Shreveport City Hall:

(1) tax property owners here into leaving, then

(2) raise taxes even more on those who stay, then

(3) run more property owners out, then

(4) raise taxes even more on those who stay, then

(5) run more property owners out, then

(6) join the out-migration.

Such is our history for 30 years, including the number of public officials many of us know that reached Step #6 before the rest of us.

Elliott Stonecipher

Lincoln Schools Closed Thursday

02/25/2015

KNOE-TV8

Lincoln and Union Headstart Closed Thursday
Lincoln Parish Schools Closed Thursday

Monroe City Council Meeting Now Set for Noon Friday

02/25/2015

Tonight’s 6:00 PM meeting of the Monroe City Council has been postponed until Friday, 2/27, 12 Noon.

Monroe City Council Meeting Postponed

02/24/2015

Tonight’s 6:00 PM meeting of the Monroe City Council has been postponed until Wednesday, 2/25, 6:00 PM, according to KTVE-TV10.

Deadheads Get Snow Day; Tax Slaves Get to Work

02/23/2015

Winter Weather Closings for Monday, February 23 – KTVE-TV10

-Lincoln Parish Public Schools: Closed Monday
-Cedar Creek School: Closed Monday
-All Louisiana Tech University campuses, including Tech-Barksdale and the Shreveport Center: Closed Monday
-Grambling State University: Closed Monday
-Louisiana Delta Community College (All Campuses): Closed Monday
-Grambling Laboratory School K-12: Closed Monday
-Union Parish Public Schools: Closed Monday
-Union Christian Academy: Closed Monday
-D’Arbonne Woods Charter School: Closed Monday
-Downsville Charter School: Closed Monday
-Mom’s Helper Daycare in Farmerville: Closed Monday
-Ouachita Christian School: Closed Monday
-Jackson Parish Schools: Closed Monday
-Jackson Parish Public Libraries: Closed Monday
-Jackson Parish Courthouse: Closed Monday
-Jackson Parish Police Jury: Closed Monday
-University of Louisiana Monroe (All Campuses): Closed Monday
-Montessori School of Ruston: Closed Monday
-Our Lady of Fatima School: Closed Monday
-Jesus The Good Shepherd: Closed Monday
-St. Frederick’s High School: Closed Monday
-Ouachita Parish Schools: Closed Monday
-Richland Parish Schools: Closed Monday
-Claiborne Parish Schools: Closed Monday
-Monroe City Schools: Closed Monday
-Delhi Charter School: Closed Monday
-Claiborne Christian School and K-4: Closed Monday
-Franklin Academy: Closed Monday
-West Carroll Parish Schools: Closed Monday
-Grace Episcopal School: Closed Monday
-Learning Tech Quest School (Full School & After School Programs): Closed Monday
-Franklin Parish Schools: Closed Monday
-All OMCAP Head Start: Closed Monday
-Bayou Gymnastic Pre-School: Closed Monday
-Unitech Training Academy: Closed Monday
-Riverfield Academy (Rayville): Closed Monday
-Vision Academy High School (Monroe): Closed Monday
-Delta Head Start & Early Head Start in Madison/East Carroll & Richland Parishes: Closed Monday
-YMCA After School Programs: Closed Monday
-Ouachita Council of Aging: Closed Monday
-Prevailing Faith Christian Academy: Closed Monday
-Beekman Charter School Teacher In-Services: Closed Monday
-Happy Days Development and Learning Center (West Monroe): Closed Monday
-Briarfield Academy: Closed Monday
-St Francis Pediatric Neurology (Dr. Pina’s Office): Closed Monday
-New Vision Learning Academy (Monroe): Closed Monday
-Missy Crain Dance Studios: Closed Monday
-College Prep Daycare and Preschool (West Monroe): Closed Monday
-Mini Scholars Daycare (West Monroe): Closed Monday
-Anna’s Lollipop Lane Daycare (Bastrop): Closed Monday
-Playhowse Learning Center (Sterlington and Playhowse -Farmerville): Closed Monday
-Debbie’s School of Dance: Closed Monday
-New Vision Child Development Center: Closed Monday
-First Assembly Learning Center Daycare (West Monroe): Closed Monday
-Happy Tails Daycare (Monroe): Closed Monday
-Monroe City Court: Closed Monday
-Delta Charter School (Ferriday): Closed Monday
-Arthritis & Diabetes Clinic (Monroe): Closed Monday
-Liberty Stylist Beauty School (Monroe): Closed Monday
-Toonie Bugs Daycare (Calhoun): Closed Monday
-Fourth District Court: Closed Monday
-Ouachita Council On Aging/Meals On Wheels Deliveries: Closed Monday
-Jackson Parish Library: Closed Monday
-Covenant Day School (Monroe): Closed Monday
-Physical Therapy, Inc: Closed Monday
-Prairie View Academy (Bastrop): Closed Monday
-Wonderland Child Care & Development Center: Closed Monday
-NE Delta Human Services Authority Offices & Clinics: Closed Monday
-Excellent Daycare (Monroe): Closed Monday
-Arco of Community Resource: Closed Monday
-Wee Learner’s Daycare: Closed Monday
-Child’s Play II Daycare: Closed Monday
-Fairpark Baptist Church Daycare: Closed Monday
-Ouachita Parish Library (All Branches): Closed Monday
-Excellence Academy Charter School: Closed Monday
-First United Methodist Daycare, Monroe: Closed Monday
-Ouachita Parish Public Libraries (all branches): Closed Monday
-Oak Grove Town Hall Meet On Tues., Feb 24th postponed to March 3rd


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