Archive for the ‘City of Ruston’ Category

Committee Recommends Ruston City Budget

08/18/2015

The Personnel/Finance Committee of the Ruston Board of Aldermen last night unanimously recommended a $57.25 million budget be formally adopted by the board at its September meeting. That committee is a committee of the whole.

See here the proposed ordinance.

According to the budget summaries supplied to Lincoln Parish News Online (LPNO) total estimated revenues for 2016 will be about $56.807 million, and estimated expenditures will be $57.249 million. The 2015 comparable figures were $55.298 million and $56.908, respectively.

Among the departments that will see significant budget increases:

Budget Summary

Among the departments taking a hit:

Budget Summary decrease

See here the documents:

2015 Budget Summary
2016 Budget Summary

In response to a question by District Four’s Jim Pearce, Mayor Ronny Walker said that the budget added 33 positions to the pay plan, but that the positions wouldn’t be filled until the revenues would support the hires.

Pearce noted that the retirement and medical costs for employees was a significant cost.

Ruston City Council Monday

08/16/2015

The Ruston City Council, and its Personnel/Finance Committee will meet Monday, August 17, 5:30 PM, Ruston City Hall, second floor Mayor’s Conference Room.

Here are the agendas:

City Council
Personnel/Finance Committee

Liquor Sales on Tech Campus now Legal

08/04/2015

On a 4-1 vote, the Ruston City Council removed the prohibition against sales of liquor on the Louisiana Tech University (LTU) campus at last night’s meeting.

Moving for final adoption was District 5’s Bruce Siegmund, seconding was District 3’s Jedd Lewis.

Speaking for the ordinance amendment was LTU’s Vice President for Student Advancement James King.

King said the Davison Athletics Complex south end zone facility will be used for hosting events for visiting company executives, in addition to game-day activities.

Said King of campus foodservice provider Aramark, “They are a very good catering service. They want to handle things the right way, legally, and so they’re making application to get a liquor license. Because they are professionals, it will be handled as such.”

King told Lincoln Parish News Online that “as long as he was vice-president” at Tech, there would be no further expansion of alcohol sales on campus.

The single no vote on the council, District 4’s Jim Pearce, spoke against the ordinance change.

Said Pearce, “What’s going to happen down the road, once we vote on this, that door is open.” He added, “What’s going to happen around our school? And that could happen tomorrow. You could have bars or restaurants opening all around the school, because that 300 foot (prohibition) is not there.”

Pearce also worried that the alcohol ordinance that was passed by the voters in 2002 was gradually being chipped away by the council’s action.

Also speaking against the ordinance was Grace UMC Pastor Bob Deich.

His remarks were similar to written comments published last week.

No other area church pastors bothered to speak up at last night’s public hearing.

Booze Sales @ Tech Final Vote at Monday’s City Council Meeting

08/02/2015

A final vote on an ordinance amendment allowing issuance of alcohol sales permits on Louisiana Tech University’s campus will be up for consideration at the 5:30 PM, Monday, August 3 meeting of the Ruston City Council.

Citizens who wish to comment on the proposed ordinance change will get their chance at a public hearing just prior to the vote.

Here is the agenda.

Also notable is a final vote on the ordinance creating a cooperative endeavor agreement between Excellence Started, LLC and the city. That company will construct the building in which Monster Moto, LLC will headquarter and build go-carts and minibikes.

The final ordinance has been amended to substitute the words “provide for” in lieu of “guarantee” relating to the rent on the building “under certain terms and conditions.”

Also “cooperative endeavor” agreement has been substituted for “guaranty” agreement.

See here the documents.

LA Tech to go Wet Campuswide if Ordinance Passes?

07/27/2015

A new City of Ruston Ordinance, if passed, would appear to allow the entire Louisiana Tech Campus to go “wet,” and would allow the sale of alcohol campus-wide. The proposed ordinance will be voted on at the 5:30 PM, 8/3/15 meeting of the Board of Aldermen. It was introduced at the 7/6/15 meeting.

The existing ordinance subsection (a) reads thus:

Sec. 5-24. – Proximity to churches, schools, etc.

(a) A permit under this article shall not be granted for any premises situated within 300 feet or less of a public playground or a building used exclusively as a church or synagogue, public library or school, except a school for business education conducted as a business college or school. Such distance shall be measured as a person walks using the sidewalk from the nearest point of the property line of the church or synagogue, public library, playground or school to the nearest point of the premises to be licensed, or by such method as may hereafter be prescribed by the laws of the state. The restrictions contained in this section shall not apply to premises which are maintained as a bona fide hotel, railway car or fraternal organization.

(Ord. No. 1395, § 1, 12-17-2002)

State Law reference— Authority to limit location of business, R.S. 26:281.

The new ordinance amendment adds to subsection (a) the following phrase: “and except a state college or university.”

See here the complete document.

The ordinance had been touted as allowing alcohol only at the Davison Athletics Conference south end zone facility now under construction, that is set to open this fall.

However, the amendment makes no distinction about any specific campus location and would appear to open up the entire Tech campus for alcohol sales.

At least one area pastor has called upon his congregation to fight the proposed ordinance.

Wrote Grace United Methodist Church Pastor Robert Deich in a memo distributed to the congregation:

It has been said that this is, specifically to offer sales and consumption of alcohol in the new $22 million Davison Athletics Complex, but the ordinance is written to include the entire campus.

I’ve been to enough games at Tiger Stadium, the Superdome and Cajun Field to say with confidence and pride (as a resident of Ruston and a Tech alumni) that we have something special in Ruston – a family atmosphere. I would rather enjoy one game at Joe Aillet Stadium with my grandson Logan, than endure one in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, or Lafayette. While alcohol may not be offered openly in each of those venues, the atmosphere that exists is certainly more of the “party school” atmosphere and is not welcoming to families.

The positive, unique, family-friendly atmosphere of Ruston & Tech are something we need not sacrifice to the almighty dollar or to the desires of a small minority.This dynamic, combined with the potential negative impacts of alcohol on individuals and our community should not be taken lightly.

See here the complete document.

Deich said he had been in contact with other area pastors in an effort to mobilize their support.

Mays Trial Set for February

07/23/2015

A 9:00 AM, February 22, 2016 trial date has been set for accused murderer Cameron Mays, a source who was at Tuesday’s hearing told Lincoln Parish News Online (LPNO). There will be a December 15, 2015, 9:00 AM hearing in the case for attorneys to file any supplementary motions, the source said.

Mays is charged with Second Degree Murder in the June, 2012 home invasion and killing of retired Grambling State University Professor Sue Hashway.

Assistant Attorney General Mike Ruddick, based in Monroe, will prosecute. James Buckley is Mays attorney.

Also, the issue of closed court has been resolved, Lincoln Parish Sheriff (LPSO) Mike Stone told LPNO yesterday.

He said that the public would be fully accommodated in the courtroom, within the limitations of the room’s seating capacity. Baliff’s would no longer selectively bar the public from the court based on whether or not the individuals had business before the court.

Stone agreed that court sessions should be open to all, and that the court’s business is the public’s business.

Reynolds Extension Construction to Begin

07/07/2015

Amethyst Construction of West Monroe was the winning bidder for a $566 thousand contract to extend Reynolds Drive across Goodwin Road and connect with Celebrity Drive, Ruston’s Board of Aldermen was told at last night’s meeting.

Construction Projects Supervisor John Freeman said the project should begin around the first of August and would complete around the end of the year, weather permitting.

The Goodwin Road/Reynolds Drive intersection will become a four-way stop.

The council approved a resolution for the design and construction of improvements to Cooktown Road, near its intersection with I-20.

An ordinance was introduced setting the property tax rates for tax year 2015. Rates are 5.88 mils for ordinary expenses and public improvements, and 2.92 mils for maintenance and operation of recreation buildings and equipment. They are the same as the prior tax year.

See here the document.

Finally, there was a bit of discussion regarding a proposed condemnation at 103 South Farmerville Street. Building Official Bill Sanderson had recommended a thirty day deadline to repair or demolish the structure.

However, owner Lynn Irvin said he was trying to donate the house to a charitable group who would then repair it, and would need more time to effect the transfer.

District Two’s Angela Mayfield noted that the property had been in poor condition for years, and no recent efforts had been made to make it habitable.

When it came to a vote, the thirty day deadline was upheld, with District Five’s Bruce Siegmund voting no.

Ruston City Council Monday

07/02/2015

Ruston’s Board of Aldermen will meet Monday, July 6, 5:30 PM, Ruston City Hall, 401 North Trenton, first floor courtroom.

Here is the agenda.

Of note is introduction of an ordinance concerning the rental guaranty agreement with Excellence Started, LLC.

Last month, the council adopted a resolution relative to the matter. The ordinance has similar language to the resolution, and will require a public hearing be held prior to adoption.

Also, a resolution will be considered that would reimpose an expiring recreation millage.

See here the document.

Finally, the council will consider a resolution to authorize a construction contract to extend Reynolds Drive to connect with Celebrity Drive near Goodwin Road. A temporary roadway was utilized during recent construction in the area, and this project will construct a permanent road at that location.

Seen on Burgessville Road This Morning

06/26/2015

Sign

Bonton Trial Date Set

06/24/2015

Brandon Bonton, an alleged accessory to the murder of Dr. Sue Hashway, was given a September 28 trial date at a Third Judicial (Lincoln, Union Parishes) District Court hearing yesterday afternoon in Ruston.

In addition to the accessory to 2nd degree murder, Bonton is charged with accessory to burglary, possession of stolen things, and theft of a firearm.

Bonton was one of several individuals charged as accomplices to the June, 2012 murder of the retired Grambling State University (GSU) professor, and the rape of a Louisiana Tech University (LTU) student.

Bonton’s attorney, Scott Killen, said he wanted to confer with the Louisiana Attorney General’s office on a related case, that of the alleged ringleader of the crime spree, Cameron Mays.

Assistant AG Mike Ruddick is handling Mays’ prosecution. Almost all the Third JD public defenders who had been involved in Mays’ case, got jobs as prosecutors in the administration of newly elected District Attorney John Belton, and had to be recused because of the conflict of interest.

Mays is set to next appear in court at 9:00 AM, July 21. Bonton has a status conference hearing at 9:00 AM, September 15.

Handling the Bonton case yesterday was First Assistant District Attorney Laurie James.

Presiding was Division B Judge Tommy Rogers.


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