The Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) provides office space and utilities to agencies that it is not legally required to, according to Louisiana Revised Statutes and documents that show where the agencies are located.
In Louisiana, juries and parish commissions shall provide sheriffs, courts, clerks of court, assessors, and voter registrars with space, furniture, equipment, and utilities. Also, a courthouse and jail shall be provided.
See here the pertinent laws:
LA RS 33:4713 – Providing quarters for court and parish officers
A. Each parish shall provide and bear the expense of a suitable building and requisite furniture for the sitting of the district and circuit courts and such offices, furniture, and equipment as may be needed by the clerks and recorders of the parish for the proper conduct of their offices and shall provide such other offices as may be needed by the sheriffs of these courts and by the tax collectors and assessors of the parish and shall provide the necessary heat and illumination therefor.
LA RS 33:4715 – Providing parish court-house and jail
The police jury of each parish shall provide a good and sufficient court-house, with rooms for jurors, and a good and sufficient jail, at such place as they may deem most convenient for the parish at large, provided that when the seat of justice is established by law, they shall not have power to remove it.
LA RS 18:132 – Offices furnished registrar; supplies; expenses
A. Except as otherwise provided by law, the governing authority of each parish shall furnish the office space required by law for the registrar and also shall be responsible for the cost of all equipment and supplies, including all furniture, books, stationery, and other expenses for the operation of each office necessary to enable the registrar fully to discharge his duties.
In Lincoln Parish, Humanitarian Enterprises of Lincoln Parish (H.E.L.P.), the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs (LDVA), the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC), and the LSU Extension Service are provided with office space, courtesy of the LPPJ.
See here an inventory of the various parish buildings and allocated office space.
Since the subject of offices and buildings was discussed extensivly at last weeks jury committee meeting, we decided to see what the jury was legally required to do, versus what’s actually happening.
It looks like about 10 thousand square feet of office space is provided for agencies that is over and above what the law requires.
Also, with the space in the courthouse vacated by the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office, the two agencies that are located in the Annex 2 (adjacent to the old bus station) could move into the courthouse. That would allow the Annex 2 to be sold or otherwise disposed of, right now.
There is also the old Tax Assessor’s office on the first floor of the courthouse that is being used for records storage, climate controlled, no less.
No one has asked why the jury, and by extension Lincoln Parish taxpayers, are providing office space for extra agencies.
But what is really happening is that there is a group of jurors who are holding out hope that money will fall from the sky so that new court house can be built on the site of the old County Market Building. Recall the 2011 Master Plan that proposed that very thing.
That’s why the building was bought in the first place, in September, 2009.
If people are moved into the courthouse, and especially if any repairs or renovations are made to the existing courthouse, that would jeopardize any hope of a fancy new building to show off, like the one recently built in Bienville Parish.
But thirty million dollars is quite a price for the taxpayers of Lincoln Parish to pay so that the LPPJ can keep up with the Joneses.