Archive for the ‘City of Ruston’ Category

Ruston City Council Tonight


Ruston’s City Council will meet tonight (Monday, May 6), 5:30 PM, Ruston City Hall, 401 North Trenton.

Here’s the agenda.

Notable is a resolution to engage an architect for Phase II of the sports complex on South Farmerville St.


Mays Found Guilty of Murder


Cameron Mays, 33, was last night found guilty of the murder of retired Grambling professor Susan Hashway, who was found dead in her Paynter Drive home in Ruston in June, 2012.

A Lincoln Parish jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts on five separate charges: aggravated kidnapping, aggravated burglary, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, unauthorized use of an access card, and second-degree murder.

Comprehensive coverage of last week’s trial can be found in the Ruston Daily Leader’s articles by reporters Nancy Bergeron and Caleb Daniels.

Mays trial to begin Monday
Murder trial for man accused of killing GSU teacher begins
No opening statement made by defense
Testimony underway in Mays murder trial
Medical examiner: Murder victim suffocated
Prosecutors: Rape, murder cases similar

Our earlier reporting on the case can be found here.

McBride Announces for Lincoln Parish Tax Assessor


Billy Mac McBride, Jr. announced today that he is a candidate for Assessor of Lincoln Parish.

McBride is the Chief Deputy Assessor for Lincoln Parish. As a Certified Deputy Assessor, McBride is involved in the valuation process of land, buildings, drilling rigs, oil and gas wells, cell towers, pipelines, and all general businesses as well as overseeing the daily operation of the Assessor’s office.

“Lincoln Parish has blessed me with so many opportunities,” McBride said.

“I’m running because I want to continue serving the people of Lincoln Parish. My wife and I are proud to call Lincoln Parish home.”

McBride said his campaign platform will be to work with all residents and businesses to ensure that assessments are fair and equitable. McBride added that both his experience in the private sector and in the government will give him a foundation to address the issues facing Lincoln Parish.

“Lincoln Parish is one of the brightest lights when it comes to economic development and entrepreneurship,” McBride said.

“ I want to work with our elected officials and community leaders to ensure that Lincoln Parish’s economic progress continues to grow stronger in the next few years.”

McBride was the Ruston OTASCO store Assistant Manager before he began working for the Weyerhaeuser Plywood Division in 1986. After 23 years with Weyerhaeuser, he accepted a position at the Lincoln Parish Assessor’s Office where he has served for the past 10 years.

McBride is a member of the International Association of Assessing Officers (IAAO). He is a Certified Louisiana Deputy Assessor (CLDA) with over 240 hours of IAAO classroom education.

McBride is a graduate of Lincoln Leadership XXXII. He is a member of Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, Lincoln Rotary Club, Ruston Community Men’s Shed, NRA, and National Wild Turkey Federation.

Billy Mac and Janet Hall McBride have been married for 35 years. They have two children, Ashley McBride and Adam McBride, who is married to Tiffany Brown McBride. Billy Mac and Janet have two grandchildren, Tripp, age six, and Harper, age two.

For the past 10 years Janet has operated her own business, Janet McBride Court Reporting, in Ruston.
Billy Mac and Janet are members of First Baptist Church in Ruston.

Billy Mac enjoys spending time with his family and working with wood to create walking canes, furniture and other items.

Special Called City Council Meeting Tonight


There will be a special called meeting of the Ruston City Council tonight (Tuesday, April 30), 5:30 PM, Ruston City Hall, 401 North Trenton.

…Declaring an Emergency Per La. R.S. 38:2211(5) and Authorizing City to Enter into Agreements and Contracts for Reconstruction and Repairs to Facilities of the City.

Here’s the agenda.

City Delinquent on Property Taxes


The City of Ruston is delinquent on over $10 thousand in taxes owed on several parcels of land that are on the property tax rolls, according to documents from the Lincoln Parish Tax Collector’s Office.

Additionally, an $18 thousand tax bill on five hangers at the Ruston Regional Airport was paid three months late, resulting in an additional cost of $2,200 in fees and interest.

See here the document – 292 Aviation Blvd.

The other properties and the taxes owed are:

1409 Campbell St – $293.24

1814 Celebrity Dr – $960.77

2505 S Vienna St – $9,015.34

1300 Campbell St – $324.07

1304 Campbell St – $199.44

The Campbell St properties are located off Farmerville Hwy behind the RaceWay gas station. Those properties are to be a part of the North Service Road East re-route, when/if the project is funded.

The South Vienna property is the site of the former Campus Community Assembly of God Church, and is now being utilized as an office for Womack and Sons Construction Group.

Ruston’s Audit Delivered Monday Night


Ruston’s annual audit was reported at Monday night’s meeting of the Board of Aldermen, and it showed no findings and had an unmodified opinion. That means the financial statements have no material misstatements, and that the auditor has can state that with a high level of assurance.

Jerrod Tinsley, of Heard, McElroy, & Vestal, LLC, said “…the financial statements are materially correct in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.”

The report covered the fiscal year from 10/1/2017 through 9/30/2018.

He added, “Laura gave me a clean set of books, and that should be noted.”

Earlier, City Treasurer Laura Hartt reported that the sales tax fund collected $18.4 million for the year, a slight increase over the year before. She added that the city’s long-term debt at the time of the audit was $79.9 million.

Alderman Jim Pearce asked about total revenue and expenses.

Hartt said that revenues were at $71 million and expenses were $53 million. She added that the fund balance as of the audit date was $14.8 million, down about $3 million from the year before.

Ruston City Council Tomorrow


Ruston’s City Council will meet Monday, April 1, 2019, 5:30 PM, Ruston City Hall, 401 North Trenton.

Here’s the agenda.

Pearce Has Questions on new City Borrowing


Ruston’s Ward Four Alderman Jim Pearce last night had some perceptive questions regarding the city’s next bundle of money to be borrowed and spent on phase II of the sports complex on South Farmerville Street.

His questions came at Monday night’s meeting of the board.

City Treasurer Laura Hartt said that if the council approved the $20 million bond issue, half the money would be borrowed on April 1 of this near, just four weeks away.

Pearce wondered why the hurry to borrow the money when plans have yet to be drawn up, nor has a detailed budget for the project been figured.

“We’re going to borrow the $10 million on April 1. I know we’ve hired an architect, but I don’t know if we’ve had any bills yet. I don’t know when we’re projecting to actually have some bills, but yet we’re going to borrow $10 million,” said Pearce.

“I’d rather see we get plans, we get an estimate. We don’t really know, because we don’t have anything drawn,” he added.

Mayor Ronny Walker said that they were following the advice of the city’s financial team, bond attorney Wes Shafto and financial advisor Lucius McGehee.

Shafto’s law firm is handling the bond sale, and McGehee’s firm, Argent Financial, is the paying agent, according to Hartt. She noted the interest rate is 3.075%.

Pearce also inquired about repayment of the loan, and it was revealed that the first month’s take from the restaurant/hotel sales tax was about $126 thousand. That translates into $1.5 million/year in tax revenue.

Pearce asked would that be enough for the yearly bond payment, and Hartt said it would not, as the payment required would be $2.5 million to $2.8 million.

Said Pearce, “So the new restaurant/hotel tax is not sufficient to pay the bonds, the $20 million?”

Replied Hartt, “Not as of January 1. But the hope is when the sports complex is in full operation, the hotels are full, and we have lots of visitors to the restaurants, it will cover that bond payment.”

During the debate late last year, the administration claimed there was enough extra money in the 2016 3/4 cent sales tax to make up any shortfall. However, any money diverted from that tax to pay the shortfall is money that won’t be available for other Moving Ruston Forward projects.

The final vote on the bond ordinance was 3-1, with Pearce voting no. Seigman was absent.

The council also amended the restaurant/hotel sales tax district ordinance, to include several new establishments and deleting closed businesses.

See here the document.

Ruston Sports Complex Spending – $27 Million & Counting


As of Wednesday, February 27, 2019, about $27 million has been spent to date on the sports complex under construction on South Farmerville Street. The amount represents only what has been paid out, and does not include any money already committed for future payment, or any new spending not yet contracted.

Lincoln Parish News Online reviewed over 170 individual invoices associated with the project, along with the accompanying payment vouchers.

Here are some of the more significant expenditures.

The project’s prime contractor, Womack & Sons Construction Group, has been paid about 60% of its $35 million contract with the city.

Womack’s January invoice lists $20,792,408.19 in payments and $14,303,949.45 remaining to be paid on the total contract amount of $35,096,357.64.

See here the document.

Assuming Womack is paid in full, that indicates the project’s total cost will be at least $41.3 million.

The costs include $2.1 million in property purchases. Also, Weyerhaeuser Company was paid slightly over $1 million for wetland mitigation credits.

Yeager, Watson & Associates, the project architect, has been paid $1.18 million.

About $1.22 million has been paid to several companies for engineering, surveying, or testing:

American Testing Lab, LLC – $152,504.25
Neel-Schaffer, Inc. – $515,569.60
Pan-American Engineers, LLC – $220,856.73
Riley Company of LA, Inc. – $326,701.95

About $229 thousand has been spent on electrical equipment.

About $221 thousand has been spent on computers, software, and fiber-optic equipment.

Recently, $111 thousand was spent to purchase restaurant and food service equipment.

As the project progresses, we will periodically update this report.

Ruston City Council Monday


Ruston’s Board of Aldermen will meet Monday, March 4, 5:30 PM, Ruston City Hall, 401 North Trenton, first floor courtroom.

Here’s the agenda.