Jurors spent nearly 45 minutes quizzing Lincoln Parish Library (LPL) director Vivian McCain about a budget increase in next year’s expenditures, but only a couple of minutes on the Lincoln Parish Detention Center and costs that amounted to almost twice that of the library.
It was a long afternoon and evening yesterday at the Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ), with committee meetings beginning at 4 PM and lasting until the jury adjourned at 7:30 PM. Most of the discussion occurred the Finance Committee meeting.
In the LPL budget was an expenditure increase of about $380 thousand from 2014 to 2015 – about $2.0 million total to about $2.38 million total. The library’s expenses were about $100 thousand under budget for 2014.
See here the budget docs.
Finance Committee Chair Jody Backus (District 7) asked if the increase was necessary.
Asked Backus, “Can that be, not cut, but kinda shaped and molded a little cleaner? Ninteen percent increase is just…”
McCain said that the increases in salary and wages were the result of several vacancies from early in 2014 that will be filled in 2015. Also, she said, some of the new hires had advanced degrees. Some of the budget increases are one-time only, like a new van, computer wifi equipment, tech, support, and new furniture for the events center, she added.
Said McCain, “Most of those things, as you said is one-time expenses.”
Treasurer Bobby Gray noted that the library has about $4 1/2 million in reserve funds.
A couple of the jurors asked about the percentage of minority hires among the library personnel.
Asked Jury President Hazel Hunter (District Two), “Vivian, what is the ration of minority employees?”
McCain said she thought it was about 1/3.
Later in the committee meeting, it was revealed that over $500 thousand would be transferred to the detention center for capital expenditures, and that more money – another $1/2 million would be have to be appropriated later for the fence construction project.
See here the budget.
Said Jury Administrator Courtney Hall, “We’ve reached our limit as far as being a cash cow where we can just keep throwing this money.”
Compared to the 45 minute grilling that the library director had to endure, the jail issue was discussed for only a couple of minutes. But then Vivian McCain doesn’t control near the votes that Mike Stone does.