OPPJ Pulls ULM Tax from Agenda

Citing a written request from a University of Louisiana at Monroe booster, Ouachita Parish Police Jury President Shane Smiley last night removed from the jury’s agenda a proposal to call a tax election on the University’s behalf.

George Schaeffer signed the letter where he claims to be acting on behalf of ULM President Nick Bruno.

However, Schaeffer has no official connection with ULM that we can find, nor does he appear to be on the school’s payroll.

The letter was sent via email from ULM’s Office of Marketing and Communications.

Wrote Schaeffer:

Dr. Bruno and I spoke several times over the weekend, and we both agree that our hope of sharing our vision for growth has been turned into an unfortunate and unprofessional social media debate that is both harmful and divisive for all.

The process of notifying the public of an election call required a 30-day gap prior to our being able to present the plan at a meeting of the Police Jury. Unfortunately, this resulted in an enormous amount of misinformation being spread on social media about the plan that must be clarified. To be fair, there have also been some legitimate concerns raised that also must be addressed before we move forward. Dr. Bruno agrees with me that there is not enough time under our present schedule to adequately address these concerns. For this reason, I respectfully request that you withdraw the Vision 2031 proposal from today’s agenda.

He continued:

To be clear, we are not abandoning the millage concept or proposal. We also believe a vote of the people should be the proper outcome for the public interest. We will review our timing and approach, seek additional input, and wait for our next best opportunity to convince Ouachita voters that growth, economic prosperity, and a better quality of life are obtainable for all with a meaningful plan and vision.

See here the letter.

The tax plan would have increased Ouachita Parish property taxes by 5 mils for 30 years. An estimated $150 million would have been taken from taxpaying property owners over the life of the tax. Plans for use of the money were detailed in this ULM brochure.

No representatives of ULM were at last night’s meeting, but it appeared that several people opposed to the plan were in the audience.

Smiley remarked that since the item was not on the agenda, public comment on the issue would be moot.

“Related to that – what that item is, is the ULM proposal that was to be discussed tonight. About Noon today, we were contacted by email by ULM and were asked to remove that proposal from our agenda,” he said.

Smiley continued, “There will be no vote by the jury, no discussion or action taken up on that matter.”

District F’s Pat Moore asked Smiley to consider allowing those who came to the meeting to speak, but Smiley said that since no one from ULM was there to present their views, he would prefer to not to have the discussion at that time.

Later, the jury approved without discussion a cooperative endeavor agreement between the Lincoln Parish Detention Center and Green Oaks Juvenile Detention Center.

See here the document.

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One Response to “OPPJ Pulls ULM Tax from Agenda”

  1. real hyip Says:

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    OPPJ Pulls ULM Tax from Agenda | Lincoln Parish News Online

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