Archive for the ‘Lincoln Parish Police Jury’ Category

Pullen Joins Race for Lincoln Parish Tax Assessor

05/19/2019

Lincoln Parish Police Juror Walter Pullen today announced his candidacy for Lincoln Parish Tax Assessor in the fall election.

Pullen said his decision came after prayerful consideration and at the encouragement of constituents and local business leaders. He said he believes being assessor would give him an opportunity to better serve the taxpayers of Lincoln Parish.

For seven years, Pullen has served on the board of review for the tax assessments as a member of the police jury, and said he’s noticed “with great alarm, the ever-increasing number of individual tax payers who year in and year out come before the jury to appeal their property tax assessments.”

Pullen said he believes “it’s time we put ‘fair’ back in ‘fair market value’ for property evaluations.”
After reviewing the most recent Louisiana Legislative Auditor Report, Pullen said he noticed that even though the assessor’s office operates on an annual budget of less than $1 million a year, the office has over $3 million in surplus funds.

Pullen said that beginning on day one of his administration as tax assessor, his No. 1 priority would be putting the individual homeowner and tax payer first.

Furthermore, Pullen said he plans to begin immediately returning at least a million dollars of the surplus funds back to the taxpayers of Lincoln Parish.

Pullen came to Ruston to attend Louisiana Tech in 1984—where he earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree—and has never left.

“Ruston and Lincoln Parish are where my heart is,” he said.

Upon graduating college, Pullen entered into the pharmaceutical industry where he worked for a successful start-up company. During his career, Pullen was a well-known sales trainer, sales supervisor, district manager and regional manager. He managed multi-state districts with revenues well exceeding the annual budget of the assessor’s office.

After retiring from the pharmaceutical industry, Pullen dedicated his time to the police jury, where he has served two terms.

As a police juror, Pullen said he has helped saved taxpayers almost a million dollars through his position as chairman of the Solid Waste and Recycling Committee.

He said one of the things he’s most proud of in all of his years on the police jury is that he’s never voted for an increase in property taxes and has helped lead the charge to cut the total property millages every year for the past six years.

Pullen said his drive to give back to the community is what inspired him to run for the police jury in the fall of 2011. Now, this need to serve is what’s compelled him to run for tax assessor, he said.
Pullen said he has the professional training and educational background for assessor’s position, and he would like the opportunity to bring those skills to the office of tax assessor.

He and his wife, Heather Pullen, have raised three children—Auldon, Addison and Brittain — while living in Ruston.

Both Auldon and Addison graduated from Ruston High School, and the youngest child, Brittain, attends Ruston High now where he is enrolled in the special education program.

Through the years, Pullen has been involved in leading adult and youth Sunday school classes and leading youth programs at Trinity United Methodist Church, where he and his family are members, coaching youth sports teams, and volunteering throughout the community.

“The community of Ruston has been such a blessing to me and my family, I’ve been inspired to return that kindness through service to my community,” Pullen said. “I have been overwhelmed by the kindness and support of the Ruston community and everything the people of Ruston have done for my family and me.”

He said that generosity had led him to feel called to serve in a way he feels most beneficial: local government.

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Jury Hears Tornado Report

05/15/2019

“This is the largest disaster that’s ever hit Lincoln Parish.”

So said Kip Franklin, Director of Lincoln Parish’s Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness to last night’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ), after his report on the events following last month’s tornado event.

Franklin gave credit to area first responders who were on the scene within minutes of the storm.

Also singled out for praise were Solid Waste Superintendent Cary Outley, Road Superintendent Jerry Doss, and their crews.

Both Franklin and jury Administrator Courtney Hall noted that Outley and the landfill crew worked many overtime hours dawn to dusk in the days following the storm.

We can attest first-hand to Doss’ arrival at daylight with a trackhoe and fleet of dump trucks to begin clearing the streets in the Burgessville Road area, which had significant damage.

Annette Straughter (District 12) said the Barnett Springs area of her district received significant damage.

“I just cannot thank you guys enough. I really appreciate all the work you did,” she said.

During the Solid Waste & Recycling Committee meeting, there was a bit of discussion about litter pickup.

Bobby Bennett (District 3) said he had been getting complaints from constituents. He suggested that the two man crew that has been hired by the jury might be more efficient if furnished with four-wheelers.

Others seemed cool to the idea, noting that liability might be an issue, and that some of the parish road ditches are too rough to be traversed by the vehicles.

It was decided to see how other parishes handle the issue.

In the past, it was a common sight to see parish prisoners working litter pickup, but most of the prisoners are now farmed out on work release programs.

Sheriff’s candidate George Webb (who was at the meeting) promised that if elected, he would see that adequate manpower would be available for that duty.

Lincoln Parish Police Jury Tomorrow

05/13/2019

The Lincoln Parish Police Jury will meet tomorrow (Tuesday, May 14), Lincoln Parish Court House, third floor.

Here are the committee meeting times and their agendas.

Sold Waste & Recycling Committee – 6:00 PM
agenda

Public Works Committee – 6:30 PM
agenda

Police Jury – 7:00 PM
agenda

McBride Announces for Lincoln Parish Tax Assessor

05/04/2019

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.

LPPJ Travel Budget Jammed Up

04/10/2019

A planned junket to Las Vegas for the annual National Association of Counties (NACO) convention by some Lincoln Parish Police Jury members has run up against budget constraints.

The revelation came at last night’s meeting of the jury, during the monthly budget review.

Parish Treasurer Holly Lowry noted that over $6600 of the $10 thousand budgeted for travel had already been spent in the first three months of the year.

Said Lowry, “That money (the $6600) is made up of $2400 for police jury conference registration at the state conference and $3900 on travel. There are three jurors who are attending NACO, and the projected cost for their registration and hotel is $4700, which will take that line item over budget. Historically, the police jury has said that once we’ve spent the budget amount, the people are on their own for those costs.”

“Last year, we only had one or two jurors attend the state convention, whereas this year we had six. So that skews the cost higher than what we had spent last year. As a jury, you guys are going to need to decide whether to amend the budget – you don’t have to decide it tonight – but whether to amend the budget, or to have the jurors that are going to NACO travel on their own.”

“Estimated cost of airfare for each of the registrants is $400 apiece. And then outside of that they will need meal money for when their at the conference. That’s an action item you guys will need to take at the next meeting – and I just wanted to bring that up.”

See here the document.

At the start of the meeting, a procedural move occurred that we’ve not seen in the ten years of covering the jury.

Both President Randy Roberson and Vice-President Joe Henderson were absent, so a President Pro Tempore had to be elected.

There were four nominations – Theresa Wyatt, David Hammond, Walter Pullen, and Annette Straughter. All save Pullen were reluctant to take the gavel, so he was unanimously elected.

The jury also approved a request from the City of Grambling for ditching at several locations.

During the earlier Personnel/Benefits Committee meeting, Keith Barnes was nominated to the full jury to be reappointed to the Greater Ward One Waterworks District, and Mary Jo Cooper was nominated to be on the Lincoln Parish Library Board of Control.

On hand at the meeting was Sheriff’s candidate Randall Hermes to do a little glad-handing.

He noted that he had no plans to privatize the operation of the Lincoln Parish Detention Center, and that any contracts in force with the incumbent sheriff would be honored.

Lincoln Parish Police Jury Tuesday

04/08/2019

The Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) will meet Tuesday, April 9, 2019, Lincoln Parish Court House, third floor.

Note that the meeting will be at the courthouse, instead of the library Events Center. The elevator is back in service, we have been advised.

Here are the meeting times and agendas:

Personnel – 6:30 PM
agenda

Police Jury – 7:00 PM
agenda

Solar Energy Plant to Locate in Simsboro

03/13/2019

If other Lincoln Parish taxing authorities follow the Lincoln Parish Police Jury’s action, a 50-acre array of electricity generating solar panels will be constructed near Simsboro, at the intersection of LA Hwy 150 and LA Hwy 563.

Joule Energy, LLC, a New Orleans based designer of solar and LED lighting systems, plans to install over 18 thousand individual panel modules that would generate about 4.5 megawatts of power. That power would be sold to local utilities.

At last night’s meeting, Joule was seeking an industrial tax exemption that would exempt the company from 80% of local property taxes.

Robert Schmidt, Joule’s President, said that without the exemption, the facility couldn’t be built. He noted that even with the exemption, the company would pay about $14 thousand annually in property tax.

The acreage is now pastureland, which only pays about $200 to $500 annually.

“It would be a significant increase in the revenue – tax receipts,” Schmidt said.

The jury unanimously approved the exemption.

Schmidt said he would be asking other Lincoln Parish tax authorities for the same exemption.

Prior to the jury meeting, the Personnel/Benefits Committee was set to meet, but was unable to muster a quorum.

Lincoln Parish Police Jury Meets Tuesday

03/11/2019

The Lincoln Parish Police Jury will meet Tuesday, March 12, Lincoln Parish Court House, third floor. Here are the agendas

Personnel/Benefits Committee – 6:30 PM
agenda

Police Jury – 7:00 PM
agenda

Lincoln Parish Court House Repairs Underway

02/13/2019

Employees and citizens who use the Lincoln Parish Court House have about two more weeks before renovations are completed to the main elevator. Also, bids will soon be solicited to partially re-roof the building.

The discussion and action was part of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury’s Public Property and Buildings Committee meeting last night.

Parish Administrator Courtney Hall said about the elevator repairs, “They’re probably 98% completed. Everything’s going to be electronic – state of the art. Prepare to be surprised.”

As for the roof, Hall added, “If you’re going to rehabilitate the building, you need to make sure the exterior of the building is sealed. We have an estimate from a roofer – it’s about $375 thousand.”

Theresa Wyatt (District One) made a motion to solicit bids for the project.

During the full jury meeting, action was taken to contract with the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office for courthouse security. Two deputies will man the first floor entrance on West Texas during business hours.

On hand to lobby for the plan were Judges Tommy Rogers and Jeff Robinson. Lincoln Parish Clerk of Court Linda Cook was also present.

The jury also ratified Monday night’s committee action and appointed Holly Lowry as Parish Treasurer.

After the business matters were dispensed with at the Public Works Committee meeting, an interesting discussion broke out regarding rural water districts and the ongoing Sparta Aquifer issue.

Recently it was revealed that the Fellowship Water System south of Simsboro is only metering 20% of the water being drawn out of the aquifer. The rest, 80%, is lost to line leakage.

The operators are attempting to obtain grant funding to make repairs to the system.

Lincoln Parish has 20 water systems that draw water from the Sparta, which covers 16 parishes in North Louisiana.

Historically, the emphasis of water conservation has been geared toward the individual (lawn watering, car washing, toilet valve leaks, etc), while the issue of distribution system problems has been neglected.

That issue has been mentioned in the last several Sparta Commission meetings that we’ve attended.

LPPJ Committee Makes Recommendation for Treasurer

02/12/2019

Holly Lowry is one step closer to being name Parish Treasurer after the Lincoln Parish Police Jury Personnel/Benefits Committee unanimously recommended her for the job.

Lowry has been the interim Treasurer since last summer.

Readers will recall that at last month’s jury meeting, Lowry was nominated, but it was decided to open the position for applications, advertise, and have the committee review and make recommendations.

Lowry was the only applicant.

Annette Straughter (District 12) moved, “I make the motion that we approve the application that we have, considering that this person has already been so gracious in being our (interim) Parish Treasurer.”

The full jury will act on the recommendation at tonight’s meeting.

The committee also heard from two representatives of Diversity One Staffing, a firm that had been hired to recruit candidates for the position of Assistant Parish Administrator.

Staffing Specialist Cathy Rogers presented resumes from five applicants that met the qualifications for the job. From those applicants, interviews will be conducted, it was said.

The action items came after a two-hour long executive session held to consider a grievance by a parish employee who didn’t receive a promotion he thought was due him.

After the session, the committee voted unanimously to deny the grievance, and leave the employee in his present position.