Archive for the ‘City of Ruston’ Category

Jim Pearce won’t run for Re-election in Ruston’s Ward 4


Twenty-four year veteran Ruston Board of Aldermen member Jim Pearce won’t be seeking re-election this year, he said at last night’s meeting of the board.

Pearce represents Ward 4, which is mostly north of I-20 and west of US 167.

In a prepared statement, Pearce said, “Thank you to the citizens of Ward 4 who have given me the opportunity to be your representative for these past twenty-four years.¬† So many have offered ¬†words of encouragement and written notes, which I will always cherish.”

He noted that he had served with former Mayor Dan Hollingsworth for 16 years, and with current Mayor Ronny Walker for eight.

See here the complete statement.

Qualifying dates for the Tuesday, November 8 election are July 20-22, 2022.

In city business the council approved a $2.67 million bid for the construction of an animal shelter off South Farmerville near where the old airport terminal was located. Additionally, $1 million was bid for a kennel way.

City Building Official Bill Sanderson said the construction is expected to take 250 days. Said Sanderson, “We hope that maybe by Christmas we’re in there.”

The successful bidder was Chart Construction of Brossard, LA.

Another resolution approved by the council was to contract with Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc. for consulting services to complete a compensation study for city employees.

Walker said the city has had problems with staff retention, and that pay and benefits needed to be reviewed.

City to Let Contract for Animal Control Facility


The City of Ruston will award a contract for construction of an animal control facility, according to the agenda for tomorrow night’s meeting of the Board of Aldermen.

Studio Brooks + Emory, a local architecture and interior design firm, had prepared plans and specifications for bidding.

See here the resolution authorizing the action.

The meeting is scheduled for 5:30 PM, Monday, May 2, Ruston City Hall, 401 North Trenton.

City’s Budget Amended, RHS track teams Recognized

Ruston High School Boys & Girls LHSAA Division I Indoor Track & Field 2022 State Champions

Tonight’s meeting of the Ruston Board of Aldermen saw several significant budget amendments for the year ended 9/30/21.

City Treasurer Julie Speir said that the general fund, the sales tax funds, and the electric fund saw changes.

Said Speir, “The general fund has a net increase of $110 thousand, and that is the effect of $2.6 million of increased sales tax revenues that we received in 2021, and a decrease in the fed and state disaster relief of $3 million. Those funds must be reported in federal law as deferred revenue, and will show up as they are spent.”

She added, “Two through four are the sales tax funds. That is a collective decrease of $2.7 million dollars. Sales tax revenues were up, but we transferred that money out to general funds. Electric had a fund balance decrease of $8 million. That’s directly related to the fuel adjustment revenue decrease, as well the decrease in overall services.”

See here all the amendments.

At the beginning of the meeting, the Ruston High School Boys & Girls Track & Field Teams were recognized for capturing the LHSAA Divsion I Indoor State Championship last month.

City Council Meets Monday


Ruston’s City Council will meet Monday, March 7, 5:30 PM, Ruston City Hall, 401 North Trenton.

Here is the agenda.

Jury Gives in to Walker’s $120K ambulance fee demand


Apparently frightened by Ruston Mayor Ronny’s threat to terminate ambulance service outside the city’s corporate limits, the Lincoln Parish Police Jury last night acceded to his demand for a quadrupling of the parish’s annual contribution.

The $30 thousand payment was increased to $120 thousand for 2022. The motion also created an ambulance committee that is tasked with developing a long-term plan for a parish-wide ambulance service.

The action came in the jury’s Health & Welfare Services Committee on a motion by Matt Pullin with a second by Milton Melton.

Though not a committee member, Skip Russell had several pointed questions.

“Do we know how many – either during the year 2020 or 2021 – how many times the ambulance service went out into the parish,” he asked.

He also asked if the city received reimbursement from Medicare or private insurance.

“I just would like a little justification, a little documentation showing what those figures really should be,” he added. “I guess I’m offended a little bit when we’re told take it or leave it, and there are no concrete figures as to where that money is going and what it’s being spent for.”

Committee Chair Annette Straughter agreed with Russel about the threat, but said that “we have to work with someone.” She had no answer for Russell’s questions about the numbers.

Sharyon Mayfield echoed Straughter’s comments about not having much of a choice about an ambulance service.

Theresa Wyatt said she met with the parish’s fire district and suggested that an alternative could be to use that entity as a foundation for a future ambulance service.

The Ruston Daily Leader’s Caleb Daniels spoke up and said that he had figures from the city on the number of call for 2021. He said that the service made about 1,650 calls outside the city, and that was about 40% of the total.

The committee voted unanimously for the motion, and the full jury later ratified the committee’s action.

At the conclusion of the jury meeting, Bill Smith had a comment about the jury’s audit for 2020, which was released to the public in November of last year.

Smith question why the auditor had never given a report to the jury in person, as has been customary in the past. He suggested that since the report had several findings, the jury didn’t want the negative publicity.

See here that audit report.

Ruston to alter EDD 1 boundaries


A couple of new restaurants will be added to the Economic Development District 1 in Ruston, and one deleted, if an ordinance introduced at last night’s meeting of the Ruston Board of Aldermen is approved.

Added were McAlister’s Deli at 1101 North Service Road East, and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, 1803 Farmerville Hwy. Removed was The Platter at 708 Celebrity Drive.

Said City Attorney Bill Carter, “This is our periodic review of the hotels and restaurants in EDD1. We have had two new restaurants, which are McAlisters in the Wal Mart strip mall, and a new Popeyes on Farmerville Highway.”

The district was created by the city council in 2018, and took effect at the beginning of the 2019. An extra 1.75% sales and use is collected on hotel stays and meals located within the district.

Two street projects were discussed that are about to commence, one in the area of Dan Reneau Drive, South Home, and West Mississippi.

The other area is South Monroe, West Texas, West Louisiana, and Oil Mill Street.

The final approval of an $18 million bond refinancing deal was agreed to, with an estimated interest savings of $700 thousand expected.

Ruston City Council Tonight


Ruston’s Board of Aldermen will meet tonight (Monday, 2/7), 5:30 PM, Ruston City Hall, 401 North Trenton.

Here is the agenda.

Cedar Creek Depositions begin next week, Judge rules


Deposition of witnesses and principals in the Cedar Creek civil lawsuit can begin next week, Ad Hoc Judge Jimmie Peters ruled this morning in Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Court in Ruston.

The suit was brought last year by the parents of a Cedar Creek student who allege that several other students bullied, assaulted and harassed their son, and that the school’s faculty and administrators knew of the situation, but failed to act

Last week, the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office, who is investigating any potential criminal wrongdoing, asked that the depositions be delayed until their investigation is complete.

The 3rd JD District Attorney recused his office from the case. Likewise, Peters was assigned the case after all the Third JD Court judges recused themselves.

Assistant AG Darwin Miller argued that the depositions might be detrimental to the state’s investigation, and could be unfair to any of the civil defendants who might become criminal defendants as a result of their investigation.

Miller called Ruston Police Chief Steve Rogers to the stand to bolster his argument, but the judge was not swayed. The Ruston PD is cooperating with the AG in the investigation.

Rogers noted that recently a potential witness contacted the investigators and wanted to make a statement. He also said that he had not read the lawsuit.

Throughout Miller’s arguments, it was evident that that the State was quite uncomfortable with both the civil litigation and the criminal investigations, perhaps because Attorney General Jeff Landry wants to run for governor of Louisiana, and a high-profile case like this could damage that effort.

The judge noted that there was no case law that supported the State’s argument, and that their argument was basically what “could” happen.

Arguing for the school, Monroe attorney Jan Christiansen noted that criminal and civil cases often parallel each other, and this one was no different.

Appearing for the plaintiff, Johnny Dollar said his client was not opposed to the speedy depositions.

Ruston Council District Reapportionment Process Begun

Present City Alderman Districts

Last night’s city council meeting saw adoption of an ordinance that will enable the city’s five aldermanic district borders to be shifted to reflect changing population numbers. Representative districts all across the nation are redrawn after each 10 year census counts.

Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker said that two of the five districts’ population were outside the guidelines required by the U. S. Justice Department.

Said Walker, “District one was 10.06% negative – so they had a decline in population. Two was minus 4.04, three was plus 2.35, four was a minus 1.83, and five was a plus 13.60.”

“So all these have to fall under 10%,” he added.

Walker went on to say that next month a plan would be presented to the council that will address the issue.

The council also approved “refinancing” about $18 million in bonds at a lower interest rate that would save the city about $700 thousand over the life of the bonds, about 8 years.

The new interest rate is 1.85% vs the existing 3.07%.

City Council Meets Monday


Ruston’s Board of Alermen will meet Monday, January 3, 5:30 PM, Ruston City Hall, 401 North Trenton.

Here is the agenda.