OPPJ Hell-bent to Sell V-Vehicle Bonds

In a surprise called meeting, the Ouachita Parish Police Jury last night voted to go ahead with the sale of bonds to help finance V-Vehicle’s project at the old GM Guide Plant. The story is in today’s The (Monroe) News-Star. Agendas for upcoming meeting are normally posted on the Jury’s website. Yesterday’s meeting was not posted.

Last October Ouachita parish voters approved a 1.8 mil property tax placed on the ballot by the OPPJ last July 16. Several days later the Jury passed a resolution that it said would refund the tax if the V-Car project does not materialize.

That promise, however, has enough daylight through which an 18-wheeler could pass. Firstly, the resolution says the jury would:

use its “best efforts” to refund to the taxpayers such taxes paid as a result of the levy under the authority of the proposition.

Additionally:

the terms of the Resolution shall be superseded by any obligations the Ouachita Parish Police Jury incurs in connection with any bonds, certificates of indebtedness, or other instruments entered into in connection with the financing of the Local Contribution.

V-Vehicle company plans to design and market what the company says is a revolutionary auto design, and assemble it at the plant location. The building and property are owned by Guideco Properties, LLC, a front company for Ruston businessman James Davison. The facility is now under lease to the company at an undetermined price.

We have seen reported that a March 1 tax refund deadline was promised by area politicians if the V-Car project didn’t materialize, and implied that the tax would be refunded after that date. In a 2/4/10 Ouachita Citizen story, West Monroe Mayor Dave Norris said:

Norris confirmed that if V-Vehicle failed to meet the March 1 deadline, property taxes collected for the V-Vehicles incentives package would be returned to taxpayers.
“Our agreement was if V-Vehicle was unsuccessful in getting all things in place, all that money would be refunded,” Norris said.

OPPJ president Shane Smiley echoed Norris’ sentiments:

While V-Vehicle can ask for an extension in light of its loan application with the Department of Energy, Smiley says the resolution passed by the police jury contained strict language that would forbid granting an extension.

“The language is cut and dry … they have to meet certain criteria by a certain timeframe (March 1) or we are no longer responsible for our part of the deal,” Smiley said. “This timeframe we are working on was requested by Louisiana Economic Development Corp. and we agreed to it, and the contract was drawn up as such.”

However, nowhere in the original resolution nor the refund resolution is an actual firm date deadline mentioned. The only condition mentioned is that if:

…said local contribution does not come due, the OPPJ will not make any future levy…

Presumably, if the State of Louisiana renegotiates the deadline, then the local deadline also slides. While the Louisiana Department of Economic Development denies any plans to extend the contract terms, such a move would not be unexpected.

Sorry, Ouachita Parish voters. You were lied to again.

2 Responses to “OPPJ Hell-bent to Sell V-Vehicle Bonds”

  1. Jeff Says:

    Walt,

    There isn’t going to be a refund, but there will be a “Plan B”! Perhaps a new jail or public works project no matter what they’ll be no refund.

  2. V-Vehicle not on OPPJ’s Agenda « Lincoln Parish News Online Says:

    […] the alacrity at which the jury last year passed a resolution to put the issue on the ballot and last week passed a resolution to spend the money. In both cases, special meetings were […]

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