Jurors Begin Search for More Money

While not openly supportive of new taxes for Lincoln Parish, it was clear at last night’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) that the group will be moving chairs and turning over sofa cushions looking for every dime of revenue it can to fund operations.

Typical were remarks by District Five’s Logan Hunt regarding the property taxes that fund parish road construction and repair funds, and the periodic reassessment of property.

Asked Hunt, “Is there any mechanism for inflation or costs, as it pertains to these millage rates? Costs are going up – material costs, bridge costs. This mechanism has it to reset irregardless of the amount of property value going up.”

Parish Treasurer Holly Lowry said that you can “roll forward” the rate to the maximum rate allowed by law. She noted that if you do that, the jury will have to call a public hearing and requires a 2/3 vote to pass.

“By rolling forward, you are increasing taxes without voter approval,” she noted.

No doubt Hunt’s concern was prompted by a 2020 comprehensive budget summary that shows a $1.57 million deficit in the road construction fund.

See here the document.

District Six’s Glenn Scriber lamented that the $10 million Hospital Escrow Fund was only earning a little over $150 thousand a year in interest. Some of that interest has historically been used to supplement the road funds.

“It just seems like one could generate more revenue off $10 million,” said Scriber

Lowry said that state law dictated that the money could only be invested in CDs, US Treasury Bonds, and other similar investments.

“We can’t go out and buy Proctor & Gamble stock or Super One stock,” she said.

She also noted that the principal amount (the $10 million) can’t be used for any other purpose without a vote. That principal is reserved for repurchase of the hospital, a guarantee that was made when the hospital was sold in 1996.

“Any reallocation of those funds would have to go before the voters,” said Lowry.

Earlier in the budget discussion, Lowrey related that keeping the funds separate in accordance with governmental fund accounting was similar to how grain storage facilities keep different grains separate. The different funds are dedicated to specific purposes, usually spelled out when the tax was approved by the voters.

There was a bit of discussion of sales taxes and the upcoming May school board 1/2 cent tax hike vote.

Finally, the jury approved the the job description for Parish Administrator and Parish Treasurer.

Added to the language was the word “preferred” to the education requirements for both jobs, instead of the strict requirement for a business or public administration degree.

Local attorney Heath Hattaway had asked during the public comment period that the requirement be relaxed.

3 Responses to “Jurors Begin Search for More Money”

  1. LittleRedHen Says:

    That fund balance will be approx 3.5 million at the end of 2020; there is a large transfer to bridge construction and that is where the money is accumulated. They do not understand the budget; the PJ is in good financial health.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Some people are never satisfied until they raise taxes be it property or sales tax. Wake up people and vote no to all tax increases be it new or renew tax.

    • Anonymous Says:

      But . . . but . . . we know what’s best! Citizens cannot be trusted to spend their money correctly!

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