Archive for May, 2015

Ouachita Parish Police Jury Monday

05/31/2015

The Ouachita Parish Police Jury (OPPJ) will meet Monday, June 1, 5:30 PM, Ouachita Parish Courthouse, second floor.

Here is the agenda.

Ruston Taxpayers to Guarantee Rent for Monster Moto

05/31/2015

Taxpayers of the City of Ruston will be on the hook for the rent “pursuant to certain terms and conditions,” for a new business that is locating at the old Ruston Airport on South Farmerville Street, according to a resolution that will be considered at Monday’s meeting of the Board of Aldermen. Additionally, the City will donate the land where a 100 thousand square foot factory will be built in which Monster Moto plans to manufacture mini bikes and go carts.

From the resolution:

WHEREAS, to induce the LLC to construct the Building which will be used by the Company, the City desires to guarantee the payment of rent by the Company to the LLC under the Sublease pursuant to certain terms and conditions;

See here the complete document.

Also, the land upon which the factory is to be built will be donated.

From the Cooperative Endeavor Agreement:

2. CITY OBLIGATIONS. City agrees to: 2.1 Convey to LEDC the property described on attached Exhibit “A” (the “Property”) and shown on the survey plat depicted on attached “Exhibit B”.

See here the complete document.

The meeting will begin at 5:30 PM Monday, Ruston City Hall, 401 North Trenton, first floor.

See here the agenda.

Vitter Makes Campaign Stop in Ruston

05/29/2015
Sen David Vitter (L), Downsville Mayor Reggie Skains

Sen David Vitter (L), Downsville Mayor Reggie Skains

U. S. Senator David Vitter (R, LA) made a brief stop in Ruston this morning while campaigning for Governor.

Speaking to supporters at the Ruston/Lincoln Chamber of Commerce on North Vienna, Vitter said he was accelerating his campaign, and touted his polling and fundraising.

Said Vitter, “We’re raising money effectively. We have about $4.7 million cash on hand, and that is about the same as all our opponents combined.”

He added, “We have a great lead (in polling), somewhere around 35%. Then the Democrat in the race, John Bel Edwards is around 28%, maybe 30%.

Vitter also promised to be accessible and to avoid “living in a bubble.”

Downsville Mayor Reggie Skains noted that even though Vitter was a South Louisiana Congressman, he always would see him whenever he visited Washington.

Said Skains, “I’ve never – and I’ve frequented his office many times – has he ever failed not to see me.”

Hoffman, Burns, Burford Vote for 1¢ Sales Tax Hike, Bill Fails

05/28/2015

At least three North Louisiana legislators voted this morning for a statewide one-cent sales tax hike that would have funded highway construction and maintenance.

HB 778: Levies a 1% state sales and use tax for 10 years to be used for construction of specific highway and bridge projects that are part of the major economic development corridors of the state, and investment in the La. State Transportation Infrastructure Bank.

Voting for the bill were:

Butch Hoffman, District 15 – R, West Monroe
Richard Burford, District 7 – R, Stonewall
Henry Burns, District 9 – R, Haughton

See here who voted how.

The bill failed on a 52-42 vote. It needed a 2/3 vote to pass.

You will never, ever, read about these votes, or any other votes by legislators, in The Ruston Daily Leader, The (Shreveport, LA) Times, or The (Monroe, LA) News Star.

Monroe City Council Council and Substandard Property

05/27/2015

One of the recurring agenda items at municipal meetings that we’ve reported upon is condemnation of substandard property, and last night’s meeting of the Monroe City Council was no exception.

Chapter 24.5 of Monroe’s Code of Ordianances deals with the issue of nuisances and abatement, and is the legal authority for government to condemn or otherwise force upgrade of substandard property.

Last night, three such properties were on the agenda, and they were discussed with little controversy. In one of the instances, an extension to the normal thirty day deadline was granted to allow the property owner to bring the structure up to code.

However, at the end of the meeting, during public comments, property owner Michael Wade made his case of why he thought he was unfairly treated at the May 12 council meeting when his property was condemned.

Wade said that a letter from the city confirming the council’s decision did not list any code violations, and should be invalidated.

Said Wade, “On these, papers, they’re supposed to list the code violations. I got four pieces of paper from the city – not one code violation is listed.”

Wade went on to chastise Mayor Jamie Mayo, saying he supported him when he ran for mayor. “Mr. Mayor read this. We you needed me I was there. I need you now.”

Mayo told Wade to meet with him after the meeting.

In other business, the council heard from Daniel Howard, Chancellor of Louisiana State University of Alexandria (LSUA). He made the trip to thank the city for donation of several horse stalls from the city’s Equestrian Pavilion.

Howard said the the stalls would be utilized for the new Rodeo Team now being organized at LSUA.

Community Affairs Director John Ross said that the pavilion had not been used for some time, in response to a question by District Three’s Betty Blakes.

Shadoin, Fannin, others Vote to Kill Sales Tax Holiday for Guns, ATVs

05/26/2015

Several North Louisiana Legislators voted to kill a sales tax holiday for guns and other hunting related items. Among those voting for HCR 15 were Ruston’s Rob Shadoin and Jonesboro’s Jim Fannin.

See here the complete list of who voted how.

The law, known as the Annual Louisiana Second Amendment Weekend Holiday Act, exempted firearms, archery equipment, ATVs, apparel, and other hunting related gear from Louisiana Sales Tax. The holiday had been in effect the first weekend in September each year since 2009.

See here the repealed law.

Monroe City Council Tonight

05/26/2015

The Monroe City Council will meet tonight (Tuesday, May 26), 6:00 PM, Monroe City Hall, 400 Lea Joyner Expressway.

Here is the agenda.

Here is the information packet.

Book Sale This Weekend

05/26/2015

Subject: Friends of the Ouachita Public Library Book Sale for May

Dates: Friday, May 29 and Saturday, May 30

Time: 9am-3pm

Where: West Ouachita Library
188 Hwy 546
Exit 108 from I-20
West Monroe, La 71291

Monroe Chamber Director Nicholson One of State’s Top Lobbyists

05/26/2015

Sue Nicholson Lobbyist rev

Monroe Chamber of Commerce President Sue Nicholson is one of the top 10 lobbyists in the state, ranked by expenditures, according to an analysis published in the 5/18/15 edition of The (New Orleans) Times Picayune. The expenditures are for the years 2010-2014.

Much of the organization’s revenues are paid by the City of Monroe and the University of Louisiana at Monroe.

See here the 2013-2014 audit, page 17:

During 2014 and 2013, the Chamber received $92,500 and $97,500, respectively (11% and 12%, respectively, of total support in each of these years) from the City of Monroe, and the University of Louisiana at Monroe. All of the funds received from these local entities was used to support the costs of the Chamber’s consulting lobbying firm.

See also the Chamber’s 2013 tax return.

Florida Parishes Juvie Center in the News Again

05/25/2015

Whistleblower case at Florida Parishes Juvenile Detention Center leads to one arrest and one lawsuit

by Heidi R. Kinchen

A secretary at the Florida Parishes Juvenile Detention Center who thought her bosses had pegged her as a whistleblower and planned to fire her now faces prosecution for recording her supervisor’s conversations without his consent.

Meanwhile, the actual whistleblower has sued the Florida Parishes Juvenile Justice Commission, which oversees the detention center, claiming management forced her to quit her job as a payroll clerk after she notified the state Office of Inspector General of possible payroll fraud.

The commission’s lawyer, John Feduccia, could not be reached for comment Friday. Attorney Tom Hogan, who represents both the secretary and the former payroll clerk, declined on Friday to comment on the cases.

An IG investigator met with Joy Chauvin, the secretary, after receiving a complaint in February 2014 about mismanagement at the detention center, which serves Livingston, St. Tammany, St. Helena, Tangipahoa and Washington parishes. The IG’s office would not disclose what prompted the meeting with Chauvin or when it took place.

Chauvin told Michael Moore, the investigator, she believed the detention center’s management thought she was the source of the IG complaint, and she was being targeted for retaliatory dismissal, according to an affidavit of probable cause for her arrest.