Jonesboro Mayor Folds on Budget Issue

The Budget Issue

Controversial Town of Jonesboro Mayor Leslie Thompson last night folded on the months-long disagreement with the Board of Alderman over the town’s budget, and agreed to use the spending plan as amended by the board.

The move came after town attorney and Second Judicial (Bienville, Claiborne, Jackson parishes) Assistant District Attorney Douglas Stokes wrote in a 12/3 letter, “The legal procedure for the adoption of a budget by a municipality certainly allows the Board of Aldermen to adopt a budget at variance with the budget initially presented by the Mayor.” Stokes also wrote, “It is still my opinion that once the budget for the current fiscal year was adopted by the Board of Aldermen, over your veto, your authority to operate at 50% of the prior years budget under the authority of R. S. 39:1312 ceased.”

See here the Stokes letter.

Thompson also received a letter from Daryl Purpera, Louisiana’s Legislative Auditor (LLA) on the issue. However, Purpera deferred to Louisiana’s Attorney General (AG), as the issue appeared “to be strictly legal in nature,” he wrote.

See here the Purpera letter.

Thompson had last month sent letters to the AG and the LLA seeking opinions on the issue.

The budget issue dates back to last summer when the mayor introduced a budget that was subsequently amended by the aldermen. Thompson vetoed the amended version, but his veto was overridden. Thompson – until last night – refused to adhere to the board’s budget and instead claimed to have authority to use last year’s budget numbers as a guide.

See here earlier Lincoln Parish News Online (LPNO) news accounts on the issue.

Jonesboro Budget $1/2 Million in the Red

J’Boro Aldermen Seize Control of Town’s Budget

Jonesboro Budget Update

J’boro Aldermen Introduce Budget

Budget Introduction

Jonesboro Aldermen Adopt 2010 Budget

J’boro Mayor Thompson Vetoes 2010-11 Budget

Town Business

After the budget discussion, the board voted to amend the budget, allowing about $45 thousand to be budgeted for animal control, and about $54 thousand for police department capital outlay to purchase two cars. Part of the police department funds will come from drug seizure proceeds.

New Police Department Hire

Police Chief Wesley Horton recommended – and the board agreed on a 3-1 vote – to hire Omari Calahan as a communications officer for the police department. However, Calahan had previously worked for the fire department and was terminated earlier this year.

Sources told LPNO that Calahan received a DWI and subsequently had his driver’s license suspended, yet continued to drive city vehicles and equipment.

Bookkeeping/Audit Issues

Tonya Wade reported progress in unscrambling the town’s books and has sent information to the town’s auditors (Allen, Green & Williamson) so they can begin their audit for fiscal year 6/30/09 – 6/30/10. AG&W is scheduled to begin their on site work in Jonesboro in January.

The town has filed for an extension on the 12/31/10 audit deadline.

Public Comments

Local auto dealership owner Jay Mallard spoke and commended the town’s public works and street departments during an emergency last month at his establishment.

After a contractor working nearby had inadvertently blocked off a sewer line and caused flooding in his building, the town employees sandbagged and used portable pumps to keep the flooding minimized. Afterward, they helped him clean up the mess.

“If they (the town employees) hadn’t showed up and helped… I probably wouldn’t be in business today,” Mallard said.

4 Responses to “Jonesboro Mayor Folds on Budget Issue”

  1. Our Children First Says:

    Quoted from website: “Sources told LPNO that Calahan received a DWI and subsequently”
    Wow this is really a great way to teach our children the consequences of Drinking while intoxicated! (sarcastic remark) Mommy didn’t that cop get a DWI and IN THE PAPER? How do we as parents attempt to raise children without proof of a consequence. Why morally would Wesley Horton think this is a moral move for anyone? Shame on us all for not being the role models and showing our children the true consequences before they go out and drink drive and maybe even kill someone. Children will not learn if they can drink and drive get caught and STILL become a cop? HMMMM.

  2. Just to clear the record Says:

    Mr. Calahan was not hired by the coucil to be a “Cop”. He is a communication personel. I guess you know the difference.

  3. Our Children First Says:

    Does he work in the building at the police station and represent our force?

  4. Jonesboro on Auditor’s Non-Compliance List « Lincoln Parish News Online Says:

    […] the 12/14/10 meeting of the board of aldermen, it was reported that the town had filed for an extension of the […]

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