After a problematic series of transactions to buy property from the Town of Jonesboro several years ago, the Greater North Louisiana Community Development Corporation (GNLCDC) now wants to sell that 4.25 acre piece of land. And since the land was purchased from the town, GNLCDC Chairman Herbert Simmons, Jr. said, he felt the town should have the first opportunity to buy it back.
Simmons’ offer came during last night’s meeting of the town’s Board of Aldermen.
Said Simmons, “At this point in time, We do not plan to develop that property.” He added, “Since the property came from the town, that we would offer the town the first right of refusal to purchase the property.”
Simmons went on to say, “That land deal left a terrible, terrible, terrible taste in my mouth, because I was accused of having some kind of collusion with the mayor when that happened. That really did a lot to me, in terms of what we tried to do for this town, to help build Jonesboro.”
The property transaction between the town and GNLCDC had been problematic over a period of nearly two years, even becoming the subject of a criminal probe by the Jackson Parish Sheriff’s Office (JPSO). The purchase was finalized in late 2011.
The council voted unanimously to have the property appraised, subject to the approval of the town’s Fiscal Administrator Ken Folden.
Earlier, during the public comments part of the meeting, several residents expressed concern with drainage problems during the recent heavy rains. Most problems appeared to be with stopped culverts and ditches that needed cleaning.
Notable with her comments was recently returned Jonesboro native Vicki Riddle Duke, who expressed concern about the physical appearance of the town.
Asked Duke, “Did we just give up? Do we just don’t care?” She added, “We have to work together, and that seems to be something that a lot of people aren’t wiling to do.”
In other business, the council discussed nuisance abatement, with Police Chief Wes Horton saying that notification letters had gone out to property owners. Horton said that none of the owners had requested a hearing.
After that time period, Horton said, the town can take action to “abate” the nuisance. Those costs would be added to the taxes owed by the owner.
Also discussed was the advisability of adding additional signatories to one of the town’s checking accounts. Folden said that he didn’t think that necessary, as he and Mayor Pro Tem Devin Flowers were already authorized signatories.