Library Tax Election seen for Saturday, October 9


Yesterday’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish Library Board of Control saw discussion about how best to ask Lincoln Parish voters to approve a tax millage that would fund operations of the agency. Also discussed was a “reduction in staff,” to make the library more economical.

Saturday, October 9 was the target date of the election.

Last December, voters defeated 57% to 43% a 5.85 mil, 10 year property tax, leaving the library facing a complete shutdown if the re-vote fails again. The budget has just about enough money to last through year-end.

Board Chair Augusta Clark said, “We’re going start looking at how we can do with less and combine some things.” Asked if that could mean layoffs, she added, “I don’t know how soon, but yes.”

The term “reduction in force” was suggested as a substitute for layoffs.

Clark said the proposed budget is being formulated, and will be submitted to the police jury for approval. The jury will then make the election call for a millage that will support that budget.

Budget meetings among the library staff, the jury administrator, and the contract accountant are already underway, with the goal of approving at the April 13 jury meeting an election call for that 10/9 election.

In other business, the board heard from member Amy Miller about the search for a new director. As was mentioned last month, the hiring process won’t begin in earnest until the fate of the tax election is known.

Miller presented a written report with some background about comparable salaries, job description, and advertising for the position. See here the report.

Library Board Meets Today


The Lincoln Parish Library Board of Control will meet today (Wednesday, February 24) at 4:00 PM, Library Events Center, 910 North Trenton.

Here is the agenda.

Parish Mowing Crew Changes Upcoming


Plans to split the Lincoln Parish Police Jury’s road mowing crew into two independent 6-man crews were detailed at last night’s meeting of the jury’s Public Works Committee. The move will allow operation in different areas of the parish simultaneously. Now, the mowing operation consists an eleven-man crew that yearly makes two complete circuits of the 400+ miles of parish roads during the April to November mowing season.

While the new plan will add but one new employee and no new equipment, it is expected that the smaller crews will be more efficient, and will allow more area to be covered at the same time.

To accomplish the change, the two crew-cab pickups will be replaced by two large vans capable of transporting the crews, and the necessary tools and spare parts.

It was noted that delivery of the vans may be as long as six months, so the new plan may not be completely implemented this mowing season.

Road Superintendent Jerry Doss said the new plan came at the behest of several jurors who said during the 2019 election, overgrown roadsides were a significant issue with voters.

Said Doss, “Some of y’all wanted to do something different as part your campaign promises. It was asked of me what can we do, and I said the only thing to do was to split the crews up.” He added, “When the guys are over here in Choudrant mowing, we get people in Simsboro calling and complaining about the grass being high.”

Doss said the crews would start at opposite sides of the parish and work toward each other, then repeat the process.

The Public Property & Buildings Committee meeting saw approval for the renewal of several leases for tenants of the old County Market building that is owned by the parish.

The full jury meeting was mostly routine, with appointments to the boards of three parish agencies, the sale of an adjudicated property, and the relocation of a polling place to I. A. Lewis school.

Police Jury Meets Tuesday


The Lincoln Parish Police Jury will hold its regular and legal monthly meeting Tuesday, February 9, Lincoln Parish Library Events Center, 910 North Trenton Street.

Here are the agendas and times:

CARES Money to Fund Summer School


Money from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act will be used to fund two 2-week summer school sessions, Lincoln School District Superintendent Ricky Durrett told last night’s meeting of the school board. He said that the classes will help students that may have fallen behind during the irregular school sessions over the past few months.

“In June – June 7 through the 18th we plan to have two weeks. It will be all in person. I do understand that we’re not going to make up a whole year’s time in two weeks, but we do have some kids who are slightly behind… some intense work will help out,” he said.

“We will come back July 12 and do two more weeks. By the first of May, principals will give us a list of everybody who qualifies to attend,” he added.

Durrett also said that Juniors and Seniors will be offered a week during the summer to help them prepare for the American College Test (ACT).

About 92% of the students are now meeting classes in person, with 8% meeting virtually, Durrett said.

During the business part of the meeting, several reports were delivered, including personnel and financial.

See here the documents.

State Of LA to Help Fund Building Demo


There was a full agenda of code enforcement items at last night’s meeting of the Ruston City Council, and that likely will be the case for the next several months, Code Enforcement Officer Bill Sanderson said.

Said Sanderson, “We have a project with the state that we’re working with… most of which are covered under a funded project from the state. It allows for the demolition of buildings that property owners are having difficulty finding funding to demolish.”

Mayor Ronnie Walker added that it was a federal project funded through the state.

Said Walker, “In the past, what happened, we (the city) would pay it (the demolition), we would lien the property, and then they never get anything out of it. They asked from the very first, we don’t want you to even lien the property, we (the state) want to just pay.”

About half the condemned structures were located in a trailer park at 1609 West California. That address is several hundred yards west of Tech Farm. Sanderson said the property owner is Jest Holdings, LLC.

The council heard the monthly treasurer’s report from Treasurer Julie Speir. Ward 4 Alderman Jim Pierce thanked Speir for putting the report in a written format, along with graphs.

See here the report.

School Board Meets Tomorrow


The Lincoln Parish School Board will meet Tuesday, February 2, 6:00 PM, STEM Center, 525 Tarbutton Road.

Here is the agenda.

Ruston City Council Tomorrow


Ruston’s Board of Aldermen will meet Monday, February 1, 2021, 5:30 PM, Ruston City Hall, 401 North Trenton.

Here is the agenda.

Hartt Returns to LPPJ in Temp role; Postel Interim Treasurer


A former Lincoln Parish Police Jury Treasurer will assume some of the duties she formerly had at the jury, and jury Administrator Doug Postel will be the Interim Treasurer, it was decided at last night’s special called meeting of the jury.

Laura Hartt, who was Parish Treasurer from 2015 to 2017, will work part-time on a contract basis and perform accounting services for the jury. She moved to the City of Ruston and served as the City Clerk for 2 1/2 years before returning to private practice with her husband early last year.

Postel noted that she already provides a similar service for Morehouse Parish, and will work about 40 hours per month at an $85/hr. rate.

“She’s available to start tomorrow. She’ll utilize some of the (police jury) staff” to do some of the work, jury President Richard Durrett said. “We need to name Doug (Postel) Interim Treasurer to sign the necessary documents” he added.

Hartt and Postel will serve until a new permanent Treasurer can be hired. Presumably, that process will get underway soon.

The jury also contracted with their auditor to perform an exit audit of the jury’s books, a standard procedure whenever there are personnel changes in key positions

Library Board to Focus on Budget, Tax Vote


The Lincoln Parish Library Board of Control yesterday discussed organizing a process to search for and hire a new permanent director, but then realized that if the do-over of the property tax election in October were unsuccessful, there would be no need for a director.

Board member Amy Miller said that it would be difficult to recruit people when passage of a tax for funding salaries wasn’t a sure thing.

Said Miller, “I’d rather be ready to go – our taxes are approved” before opening the application process.

Lincoln Parish Police Jury President Richard Durrett, who will also serve as the jury’s representative on the board, said the first thing to focus on was to establish a budget and tax rate that voters would accept.

“What this body’s got to do is finalize a budget and come up with a millage,” he said.

Board Chair Augusta Clark hinted that budget cuts were likely.

“We already know that we have to make some revisions and some ‘paring down’ with some things. We’re going to be very realistic about it, because, you know, the public has sent us a message,” she said.

The board did approve a 10% percent salary increase for the Interim Director, from $48.5 thousand to $53.35 thousand. That salary is temporary and will revert to the lower amount whenever a permanent director is hired, and she resumes her duties as Materials Manager.

Also, the board discussed Information Technology support, and the need to contract that service to a local company, rather than from a company not located in Lincoln Parish.

Said board member Sandra Dupree, “People in Lincoln Parish are the ones who are responsible for this library. I could not understand why we would have gone outside of our parish to someone else.”