Archive for the ‘Lincoln Parish Police Jury’ Category

LPPJ Adopts 2018 Budget

11/16/2017

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ), a proposed budget for calendar year 2018 was adopted with but one change. Also approved were amendments to the 2017 budget which ends 12/31.

See here the documents.

The one change was to eliminate the requirement that the Lincoln Parish Exhibition Center repay to the general fund monies advanced to them to pay for the construction of permanent stalls and the addition of RV hookup sites. That $85 thousand appropriation was done in April, 2016.

General fund amounts were relatively static, with 2017 revenues at $2.91 million, and 2018 amounts roughly the same. Expenditures were in balance.

Not so for the road construction funds, with 2017 amended expenditures at $1.88 million, and 2018 expenditures of $2.45 million

Ditto the road maintenance fund where 2017 amended expenditures are $1.88 million, and 2018 expenditures are $2.46 million.

The Lincoln Parish Library’s budget didn’t fare as well as the others, however.

For 2017, the amended revenues were set at $1.53 million, with expenditures of $2.60 million. For 2018 the amounts are $1.54 million, and $2.45 million respectively.

See here the documents.

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LPPJ Employees Get Good News on Insurance

11/14/2017

The 116 employees of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) got good news at last night’s Insurance Committee meeting – their premiums will actually decrease next year, while receiving the same coverage. The new provider will be United Health Care.

Earlier in the year, it was decided that bids would be taken from different providers in a effort to cut costs.

Thomas & Farr’s Ernest Finch told the committee that the coverage will match the current provider’s coverage. Parish Government Risk Management Agency is the current provider.

Said Finch, “The employees will see a lesser (premium) rate.”

One additional benefit is a life insurance provision for employees and family.

See here a sample enrollment guide.

Complete details will be available to the employees during the enrollment period.

Lincoln Police Jury Meetings Monday, Tuesday

11/12/2017

There’s a full schedule of Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) committee meetings this week – so many that one (Insurance Committee) is scheduled for Monday, November 13, 5:00 PM.

The other meetings are set for Tuesday, November 14, beginning at 4:30 PM, with the full jury meeting at 7:00 PM.

All will be at the Lincoln Parish Court House, third floor.

Here are the agendas.

Jury Ups Funding to Agencies

10/11/2017

Funding was increased by about $100 thousand (from about $600 thousand to about $700 thousand) to several agencies that the Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) partially finances at last night’s meeting. Most of the increase ($65 thousand) was for new recording equipment for the three courtrooms of the Third Judicial District Court.

Almost all the agencies received what they had requested.

See here the funding awarded vs last year’s funding level.
See here the originally requested amounts.

One agency was notably excluded from funding.

During the the Finance Committee meeting, Jody Backus (district 7) moved to strike all the requested $10,700 for the Shreveport-based Coordinating & Development Corporation.

According to its website, CDC is a private, nonprofit, member-supported corporation that serves the economic, community, workforce, transportation, and business development needs of 10 parishes in Northwest Louisiana, eleven counties in Northeast Texas, and five counties in Southwest Arkansas.

Backus said he could never support funding the agency because of the $175 thousand profit the agency made at the expense of Lincoln Parish taxpayers, when in the early 2000s the jury was negotiating to buy the old Albertson’s building for the Lincoln Parish Library.

Said Backus, “I can tell you where all this started, and why we dropped them (from funding). That company, CDC, took $175 thousand from Lincoln Parish residents in deceit, when they bought the library.”

The committee defeated Backus’ motion 3-2, with Backus and Henderson voting yes, and Russell, Wyatt, and Wilson voting no.

The committee went on to award CDC $3 thousand on a reverse 3-2 vote split.

However, when the committee report was later presented to the full jury, Backus moved to amend the report to exclude the CDC’s $3 thousand award. That amendment passed 6-5.

The yes votes were Backus, Roberson, Henderson, Bennett, Hammons, and Straughter. The no votes were Wyatt, Hunter, Pullen, Wilson, and Russell.

In other business, the jury approved two cooperative endeavor agreements with the City of Ruston.

One will authorize the jury to do site preparation work, fill and compacting, and access driveway construction for the city’s planned animal control facility. That work is expected to cost around $15 thousand, it was said.

The other is an agreement for the city and parish to jointly fund overlay of Rough Edge Road. Part of the road is in the city, for which the the jury will be reimbursed proportionately.

Finally, new Parish Treasurer reported on the jury’s year-to-date budget through the end of 9/30/17.

See here the document.

Lincoln Parish Police Jury Tuesday

10/09/2017

The Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) will meet Tuesday, October 10, Lincoln Parish Court House, third floor. Here are the committee meeting times and agendas.

Insurance Committee – 5:00 PM
Agenda

Public Works Committee – 5:30 PM
Agenda

Finance Committee – 6:00 PM
Agenda

Police Jury – 7:00 PM
Agenda

Budget Review @ LPPJ

09/14/2017

Tuesday night’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury’s (LPPJ) Finance Committee featured the annual exercise of reviewing budget requests from several area agencies. The requests are funded from the jury’s general fund, or those funds that are not dedicated to a specific purpose, like roads or solid waste.

See here the requests.

Among those requesting significant increases was the Third Judicial District Court. On hand to “make their case” were Judge Tommy Rogers and Judge Cynthia Woodard.

See here their request.

Said Woodard, “I appreciate what your office does for our office, and I want you to know that we’ve tried to be good stewards of the public’s funds.” She noted that statutorily, the jury is obliged to fund court reporter’s salaries.

Woodard also said that the court reporting equipment was obsolete and needs to be replaced, and that security needed to be set up for the court house.

Another agency requesting additional funding was the Registrar of Voters. Among the items listed were training seminars, annual conference, office supplies, and personnel costs.

See here the request.

All the requests would be reviewed and finalized prior to the adoption of next year’s budget, Committee Chair Skip Russell said.

As we had reported earlier this week, the jury voted to increase the road tax and cut the library’s funding.

The vote was unanimous.

Lincoln Parish Police Jury to Hike Road Tax, Cut Library Tax

09/11/2017

The Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) will meet on Tuesday, September 12, where jurors will vote to set the millage rates for 2017 on two property taxes collected from parish property owners.

Two road taxes that now collect 4.08 mils each (8.16 total) are proposed to be rolled up to the legal maximum of 4.41 mils each (8.82 total), for a total tax hike to the property owner of of 0.66 mils.

The library’s millage is proposed to be cut from 4.30 mils to 3.95 mils, or a reduction of 0.35 mils.

If adopted, the net effect to the Lincoln Parish Taxpayer will be a tax hike of 0.31 mils. The owner of a $200 thousand house would pay just under $4 more in property taxes.

The meetings will be at the Lincoln Parish Court House, third floor.

Public Works Committee – 5:30 PM
Agenda

Finance Committee – 6:00 PM
Agenda

Police Jury – 7:00 PM
Agenda

More on LPPJ Meeting

08/14/2017

There was a bit more to last Tuesday’s Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) meeting than the tax vote. Two committees were set to meet, but only one had a quorum and could conduct business.

The Public Property & Building’s Committee met as scheduled and approved the appointment of Mike Walpole as architect for a proposed expansion of the Lincoln Parish Detention Center. An architect is necessary to assist in the application for a Rural Development Loan.

The jury is contemplating borrowing the approximately $3.5 million to add about 100 beds to the jail.

The committee also extensively discussed a proposal to renovate the Lincoln Parish Court House. It was suggested that engineers/architects be solicited for ideas and suggestions on what could be done and some preliminary cost estimates.

Among the possible renovations are roof, windows, exterior, elevators, and if any expansion to the existing building is possible from a structural standpoint.

District Seven’s Jody Backus suggested that a complete new courthouse ought to be compared cost-wise to renovation.

Said Backus, “We really ought to throw in a comparison, a heads up comparison, of rebuilding versus remodeling.”

District Six’s Walter Pullen said, “You can either try to come up with eight to ten million dollars over five or six years to to fix it up and make it nice, or you can to figure out where you’re going to get twenty million dollars to build a new court house. And, I don’t think you’re going to get twenty million dollars to build a new court house.”

Time ran out on the meeting, so no action was taken on the proposal.

The Finance Committee meeting was not held, as a quorum wasn’t present.

It is notable that the two missing committee members – District One’s Theresa Wyatt and District Ten’s Nancy Wilson – represent the districts that a lawsuit filed a year ago claimed “no representation on any committees that determine how Lincoln Parish tax dollars are spent.”

Lincoln Jury Votes to Keep Property Tax Rates Steady

08/09/2017

The Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ), on an 8-2 vote, kept millage rates the same as last year on one of the property taxes seized from parish property owners. The action came at last night’s regular monthly meeting of the jury.

The General Alimony, a tax levied that can used for “any public purpose” was for 2016 levied at 1.68 mils for residents inside Ruston city limits, and 3.37 mils for those residents outside. Legally, the jury could have rolled those rates up to 1.82 and 3.65 mils if they so chose. The roll-forward would have resulted in an additional $100 thousand in total taxes seized from property owners.

Voting for the roll-up were Hazel Hunter and Sharyon Mayfield.

Voting no were Bobby Bennett, Randy Roberson, David Hammons, Walter Pullen, Jody Backus, Skip Russell, Nancy Wilson, and Annette Straughter.

Theresa Wyatt and Joe Henderson were absent.

The vote came after a public hearing on the tax ordinance that heard some pointed comments about taxes and government spending from Ruston resident Lou Taylor.

Taylor lamented the burden of property and sales taxes, and where the money goes.

Said Taylor, “So many of here don’t know what’s happening with the money, and we don’t want any more taxes. We can’t buy groceries, we can’t buy medicines, we can’t buy cars, because we’re paying almost 11 percent in this city and parish in sales taxes.” She added, “We just need to know what is happening with the revenue that is available to this police jury, and I feel the same way about the (Ruston) City Council. There comes a limit when people can just keep paying and paying.”

Taylor also questioned why the parish detention center keeps so many prisoners and needed so much money.

She asked, “Why are so may held before they can be adjudicated? They can’t work, they can’t do anything. Is that our court system, is that our DA, or is that the laws – what is it?”

Jury President Randy Roberson noted that the dedicated 1/4 cent sales tax provided only about half the money needed to operate, and that the money paid by the state to house state prisoners helped pay expenses.

In point of fact, the jail’s budget has doubled since Lincoln Parish Sheriff Mike Stone took over operation from LaSalle Corrections several years ago. Most of that increase can be attributed to increased payroll.

See here our news story earlier this year documenting the jail’s budgets.

Juror Skip Russell noted that of every dollar of total property taxes levied in Lincoln Parish, the jury collects only 14 cents, compared to the Lincoln Parish Schools Board’s 52 cents.

Said Russell, “If we need to look at cutting taxes – and I think we always need to look at that – we need to look at a number of different agencies in Lincoln Parish.”

The rollback/roll forward exercise will be repeated at the September 12 meeting for the jury’s dedicated (roads, library) property taxes.

We will be there to cover the meeting.

LPPJ Appoints Treasurer

08/08/2017

Megan Wiens, a Farmerville resident and University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM) Business Administration graduate, was appointed Treasurer of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) at last night’s special called meeting. Most recently, she was Business Manager at the Union Parish School Board.

She was one of six finalists interviewed for the job, and one of two who has had prior governmental accounting experience.

Asked why she applied, Wiens said, “I think Lincoln Parish is growing, and it’s something I would be interested in being a part of.”