Third Version of J’Boro Budget Ordinance Tabled – Serious Revenue Shortfall Now Evident

A third version of Budget Ordinance #706 was shown to the Town of Jonesboro’s Board of Aldermen at last Friday’s special called meeting, only to be tabled because additional changes needed to be made, according to the town’s controversial mayor Leslie Thompson.

The latest revision lists revenues and expenses of about $3.77 million, compared to what was introduced last November (about $3.42 million), and an earlier revision revealed in December that showed the number at about $3.44 million.

See here the documents:

#706 – latest revision
#706 – first revision
#706 – original

Budget spreadsheet – latest revision
Budget spreadsheet – first revision

Multiple versions of budget ordinances for which public hearings had not been held is the subject of an ongoing lawsuit, Essmeier v Jonesboro. The town lost the suit last August in a ruling by Second Judicial (Bienville, Claiborne, Jackson parishes) District Court Division B Judge Jimmy Teat.

That ruling was appealed by the defendants to Louisiana’s Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and is awaiting resolution.

Meanwhile, it appears that the town’s budget amending process still does not meet the Local Government Budget Act’s mandate.

Serious Revenue Shortfall Now Evident

Another problem was revealed in other documents presented to the board – a serious revenue shortfall compared to what was originally budgeted.

Halfway through the 2011-2012 fiscal year, revenues from sales and use taxes from the first six months are at about $262 thousand (31%) of the $850 thousand that is budgeted to be collected. The number should be close to half of the budget, or about $425 thousand.

See here the document.

A similar situation exists in the street and water fund, where revenues are at about 31% halfway through the fiscal year.

See here the document.

Other revenue line items that are below budget are licenses, other/miscellaneous, garbage fees, and fines/forfeitures.

Total operating revenues so far this fiscal year – excluding grants – are about $600 thousand compared to operating expenditures of about $800 thousand.

Taxpayers will need to watch for attempts to “borrow” state and federal grant monies, and use those funds for town operations. Grants are specifically dedicated to projects and by law must be used for those specific purposes.

Legal Services Agreement

Also discussed at Friday’s meeting was the legal services agreement between the town and Second Judicial (Bienville, Claiborne, Jackson parishes) Assistant District Attorney Douglas Stokes, the town’s legal adviser.

District B’s Renee Stringer inquired as to whether an individual board member could ask the town attorney questions, or would they have to submit them first to the mayor in writing.

Asked Stringer, “If this council has a question, we have to pose it to the mayor, and then he presents it to you – is that how it works?”

Stokes replied that indeed that was the case.

“You ask the mayor to ask an opinion from me – in writing – and I respond – in writing,” Stokes said.

See here the document.

19 Responses to “Third Version of J’Boro Budget Ordinance Tabled – Serious Revenue Shortfall Now Evident”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    There is no money problems in Jonesboro….Right?

    Rev Dill and Leslie proclaim all is well.

    Well, what the heck is going on? White folks doing the budget and trying to make you look bad????

    There is a serious money problem at the TOJ. And they just keep spending more!!!

    Time to lay off some workers and cut the Mayor’s salary.

    Stop the Mayor from running all around in the town’s car on the town’s gas!

    How about the cell phones?

    This is truly INSANITY!!!!

    • Anonymous Says:

      Don’t worry Aryan Nations is planning a return visit to Jonesboro next year just before Michael King’s (AKA Martin Luther King Jr.) birthday (federal holiday) to check up on the “progress” of the situation. Perhaps the townspeople by then will have figured out that the problem is NOT racism, but the Mayors imcompetant bumbling as a Mayor and a thief.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    ANIMAL CONTROL – Salary there but no workers comp being paid????

    TRAVEL – maybe the year to stay in town

    TABLECLOTHES – $2000 ….use last years or line the table with paper!

    LEGAL AND AUDIT —WOW

    Just made a quick look before my day starts….so sad!

  3. Anonymous Says:

    I guess all the “help” he (mayor) has been giving with water bills to his “people” that have money problems is finally catching up to the budget. If you tell people they don’t have to pay their bills then just wipe them to $0.00 eventually it will show up!

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Renee,

    If you have questions for Doug Stokes…fire away (in writing at the next meeting).

    Read your questions out loud to be placed in the public record and let the mayor refuse to proceed if he so desires.

    Please ask for copies of the checks he proudly boost of having….he offered them to the Rally attendees while yet refused to give them to the KNOE reporter until he spoke to “my attorney”.

    Walter, ask for copies of these checks and publish on your blog.

    Surely, the Mayor would not be so bold to present a lie in public.

    Thanks for all you both do for Jonesboro

    Your friend in cyberspace!

    • Anonymous Says:

      If you listen to the tape from January 13th (online @ thetruthinjonesboro website) RENEE STRINGER is the ONLY person making good common sense.

      She ask intelligent questions and is polite to all.

      The others seem to take in circles while talking over each other.

      LIke they are children in a classroom defending their friend and thinking if they whined enough, they will get their way.

      Glad Wesley Horton did not waiver!

  5. Anonymous Says:

    Three Times The Charm…..NOT

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Are we surprised that there is not enough money? NOT! Towns cannot spend with no regard to reason and the money available and expect not to go into the red—which is where Jonesboro is headed. Someone besides Renee has to get their head on straight. There is not extra money to pay outsiders to do the work for town employees like the accountant has done. There is not extra money to double your salary like the mayor has done. There is not extra money to be spent at will on whatever strikes your fancy at City Hall. Maybe our only hope is that the IRS will come in a shut it all down.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    $35 spent for mosquito control from July – Dec. 2011? Something is wrong here. Hope we are not in for West Nile Disease this year.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    does any of this shock you? if so,its time to crawl out from under the rock you been under since thompson took office…grow some b@lls and take a stand

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Honestly how does the mayor think everything is okay when there isn’t even a correct budget!!!! It’s time for him to say goodbye!

  10. Anonymous Says:

    Have you noticed that many of his followers have fallen away? He can’t draw a crowd of local folk, they see through him and know they have been used. He is all talk and double talk and incapable of handling business of TOJ. Dill came in to prop him up, now he has Dill looking stupid too.

  11. gothicarc Says:

    Jonesboro needs to raise taxes; seems they can’t afford low-quality government on their current income. Maybe Sheriff Stone could advise them, lend them some of his poor-mouth lines or something,

  12. Anonymous Says:

    Raise the taxes on property…..raise the sales tax for anything purchased in the town…..raise the cost of water and sewer…..raise the rent on the parks, town hall, etc…..

    Lower nothing!

    Leslie knows what to do …and do not worry…he got good help. At his right hand, sits the Rev David J Dill, a man with many, many self proclaimed talents and previous jobs…. On Leslie’s left he is covered by the famed Lestevic and Devine….two men on mission to right the wrongs they deem necessary, lead by Leslie.

    The Simmons…let them help you on the budget…they know how to manage alot of money that belongs to the tax payers.

    Leslie appears to have the help of Doug Stokes and Jim Fannin and DA Stewart…..I am wondering if they really are his soul mates or not. These white men may just appear to support Leslie when they might really be allowing him to bury himself in his actions..heck, they may be misleading him!!! The guys may be plotting against Leslie and he does not know.

    Wesley Horton has shown that he is not gonna help the Mayor or Mr. Perry would be earning a pay check.

    Leslie, you are the man….the leader …figure out who your real friends and supporters are and keep on! We can just cash in the rest of the CDs at the bank and then declare bankruptcy. After the bankruptcy, you will have a clean start that the previous folks have not messed up!

    You just got yourself into a messy situation that was created by everybody else and they trying to make you the scape goat!

  13. Anonymous Says:

    It is interesting that a council member has to go thru the mayor to ask the town attorney a question.

    Leslie wants to be a gate keeper and in the know on everything!

  14. Anonymous Says:

    If the information that the mayor says he has about town expenditures is “public knowledge,” as a spokesman for Town Hall claims, the public should be informed about it on YouTube, The Fount, The Truth in Jonesboro, The Jackson Independent, Lincoln Parish Online, or any other vehicle. They should not have to come to Town Hall to get it, because then the administration can decide whether they want to give it, and find some excuse not to if it is not “one of them.” Past administrations have done this, and this one should too. It is not “public knowledge” if this is the requirement.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    If Town Hall does not want to share this information with the taxpayers who are paying for it, then they should give each council member a print-out, and let that council member share it with his or her constituents. Surely it is their “right to know.”

  16. Anonymous Says:

    I can think of only one reason why the administration would not want the public to have access to this information, and I think we all know what that reason is.

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