Archive for the ‘Lincoln Parish Police Jury’ Category

LPPJ to Discuss 2020 Property Millage Rates Tuesday

08/10/2020

Look for a bit of discussion at the 8/11/20 (Tuesday) meeting of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury regarding property taxes. The jury’s Finance Committee has on it’s agenda the following:

Discuss Adjusting and Levying Tax Millage Rates for 2020

Discuss Setting Forth Adjusted Millage Rates and Rolling Forward Millages Not to Exceed Maximum Authorized Millages for 2020

The items are for all five taxes the jury sets rates for – the general alimony tax (one rate outside Ruston’s city limits and one inside), the two road taxes, and the two library taxes.

For 2019, the rates were set at 3.65/1.82, 4.41, 4.41, 4.65, and .55, respectively.

The maximum rates that can be levied are: general alimony – 4.0/2.0 mils, roads – 4.41 and 4.41 mils, and library – 4.41 and .55 mils.

Location: Lincoln Parish Library Events Center, 910 North Trenton

Finance Committee – 6:00 PM – Agenda
Personnel/Benefits Committee – 6:30 PM – Agenda
Police Jury – 7:00 PM – Agenda

Durrett to Seek LPPJ District Three Seat

07/20/2020

Richard Durrett, a former administrator of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury, will be filing as a candidate for the District Three slot this week, Lincoln Parish News Online has learned. Qualification for the Tuesday, November 3 election is July 22-24.

District Three encompasses much of the western part of the parish, and lies mostly south of Hwy 146 and west of Grambling. It includes the communities of Simsboro and Vienna.

Here is a map of the jury districts.

Incumbent Juror Marvin Franks was appointed to the seat last February, after a controversy over whether it was legal for him to have sought the office in the first place. The appointment was only good to the end of this year, with an 11/3 special election for the remainder of the 4 year term.

Library Tax Millage Vote set for Saturday, December 5

07/15/2020

With an 8-2 vote, the Lincoln Parish Police Jury last night approved a resolution calling a Saturday, December 5, 2020 election for re-imposition of an expiring property tax dedicated for operation of the Lincoln Parish Library. The proposed tax is for 10 years. The expiring tax was approved 10 years ago.

On a motion by Skip Russell (District 8) and a second by Logan Hunt (District 5), the yes votes were Russell and Hunt, and Theresa Wyatt (District 1), Hazel Hunter (District 2), T. J. Cranford (District 4), Glenn Scriber (District 6), Joe Henderson (District 9), and Milton Melton (District 10).

The two no votes were Marvin Franks (District 3) and Matt Pullin (District 7). Sharyon Mayfield (District 11) and Annette Straughter (District 12) were absent.

The vote came after about 25 minutes of discussion on what rate to set the millage. The expiring rate had been set at 5.99 mils, maximum, and the new resolution calls for a 5.85 mil rate, maximum. Recall that for the past few years, a lesser rate was actually collected so as to deplete an excess balance that had accumulated in the library’s fund.

For the tax year 2019, the rate collected was 4.65 mils, while the 2018 rate was 3.2 mils.

Franks suggested that a lower rate be asked for, and that he was dubious the voters would approve the 5.85 rate.

“We need to look at lowering that millage to get through the election and get it to pass,” he said. “I want a millage that will pass. And my gut feeling is this millage won’t pass,” he added.

Library Director Vivian McCain said the additional money was needed to help with the greater number of students that would be homes-schooling this year. Many students likely will be using the library’s computers and internet connection to keep up with lessons, she added.

“We feel like we need to put more money into the technology so that can bring those people in,” she said.

Pullin asked, “Do they need $2.7 million next year? Absolutely not.” He noted that the 5.85 rate would collect about $300 thousand more than the library’s present budget calls for.

See here the resolution as adopted.

During the earlier Personnel Committee meeting, Parish IT Director Tracy Calloway was allowed time to make comments regarding the recent controversy over the hiring of the Parish Administrator.

Calloway read from a prepared statement where he alleged that the hiring procedure was “fraught with poor training, poor leadership, illegal activities, lies, and a colossal lack of integrity.”

He suggested that the recent appointment of Doug Postel should be rescinded, a new hiring procedure be adopted, and a do-over of the interview and hiring process.

Calloway went on to suggest that the full jury vote to “immediately remove” District 8 juror Skip Russell from the body. He accused Russell of “serious lack of integrity, and either ungodly or immoral behavior.”

See here the complete statement.

The committee took no action after Calloway’s remarks.

The committee did hear from Personnel Director LaTonya Lacey who reviewed with the members a draft personnel hiring procedure. Many suggestions were made, but the committee took no action, and decided to further discuss the proposal in a future meeting.

LPPJ Committe Recommends Employee Covid Protocol

07/14/2020

Last night’s twelve minute Health & Welfare Committee meeting of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury recommended to the full jury a one-page “protocol” on how Covid-19 cases would be dealt with among employees.

The recommendations define exposure or close contact, and details procedures when an employee is sick, has symptoms, or is exposed. The document also “highly encourages” employees to wear masks when social distancing isn’t possible.

Committee Chair Annette Straughter said, “I ask that you please consider this as a protocol and not make it a policy, because as we all know day-to-day Covid operations, diagnosis, testing changes.”

After a few minutes of discussion, the protocol was adopted, with an amendment to have employees fill out a weekly checklist to be signed. If any two signs or symptoms are noted, then the employee would be tested for Covid-19.

Prior to the meeting, Straughter distributed a photo of a “face mask exempt card” that is Americans for Disability Act approved.

LPPJ Administrator Pay Settled

06/17/2020

The newly hired Lincoln Parish Police Jury Administrator will be paid $96,300/year, a correspondent has told Lincoln Parish News Online.

We are out of town and were unable to attend last night’s meeting.

The vote was 7 to 5.

Retiring Administrator Courtney Hall was initially hired at a starting pay of $77,200/year in 2009.

For 2018, Hall’s salary was $108,600/year, plus about $30 thousand in retirement and medical benefits.

LPPJ Special Meeting – Administrator Pay

06/15/2020

What: Lincoln Parish Police Jury Special Called Meeting
When: Tuesday, June 16, 2020, 6:00 PM
Where: Lincoln Parish Library Events Center, 910 North Trenton
Why: Parish Administrator Salary

Agenda

Dumpsters and Burners and Dogs, Oh My!

06/11/2020

There was other activity at Tuesday’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury, specifically the parish’s solid waste collection system, and what the future holds for it.

Solid Waste & Recycling Chair T. J. Cranford said during that committee’s meeting that issues with the parish’s dumpsters were one the top two complaints from constituents.

“We need to open up, discuss…about what are some of the possibilities, some ideas,” he said.

Glen Scriber asked about the possibility of adding another megasite somewhere in the parish. A megasite is a fenced and lighted location where several dumpsters are clustered.

David Green, a marketing rep for Republic Services told the committee that if the jury decided to adopt door-to-door pickup, it would cost between $13 to $15 per customer.

That company already serves Bienville Parish’s sold waste collection and disposal. A memo was distributed that describes how that parish is served.

Lincoln Parish H.E.L.P. Director Ronnie Dowling suggested that a budget study be done to determine an accurate cost.

Several jurors suggested a mail-out to parish residents describing how the existing system works, with phone numbers and suggestions on how best to use the facilities.

Also suggested was increasing the frequency of the dumpster pickups.

No formal action was taken by the committee.

Cranford told the committee about an ongoing problem with the contractor who handles the wood waste burning at the parish landfill off Highway 33.

In 2012, the jury hired Crochet Equipment Company to furnish equipment and personnel for that task, at a cost of $156 thousand/year.

It was estimated that Crochet has about 900 tons of unburned waste at the landfill. It was explained that the company lost it’s license to operate from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for several months, and has been unable to catch up.

The jury’s contract with Crochet stipulates that the unburned inventory shall not exceed 200 tons.

The committee voted to have the parish’s legal counsel send a letter to Crochet about the problems, and also voted to apply to the DEQ for a permit for the jury, with the intent of doing the wood waste burning with parish personnel.

During the public comments period, Grambling resident Gary Baldwin spoke about problems in the area with vicious dogs.

Earlier this year, former juror Nancy Wilson was severely injured by a dog that attacked her. Baldwin said that two weeks ago she was almost attacked again.

Baldwin said that when the sheriff’s office was notified, the deputies said they weren’t allowed to transport dogs in their vehicle, and that the animal control officer only worked weekdays.

Jury President Joe Henderson said the issue would be addressed.

Lincoln Parish Police Jury Does Flip-Flop on Administrator

06/10/2020

After last week voting unanimously to recommend that Lincoln Parish GIS Information Technology Manager Tracy Calloway be appointed Parish Administrator, last night the group chose instead to appoint Douglas Postel to the position. Postel had most recently been Campus Director of the Louisiana Delta Community College.

The vote was 8-4. Yeas were Marvin Franks (District 3), TJ Cranford (District 4), Logan Hunt (District 5), Glen Scriber (District 6), Matt Pullin (District 7), Skip Russell (District 8), Joe Henderson (District 9), and Annette Straughter (District 12).

Voting no were Theresa Wyatt (District 1), Hazel Hunter (District 2), Milton Melton (District 10), and Sharyon Mayfield (District 11).

Making the motion to appoint Postel was Matt Pullin, with a second from Logan Hunt.

That vote was preceded by an unsuccessful motion to appoint Calloway to the position, which failed on a 6-6 tie vote. Joe Henderson and Annette Straughter joined Wyatt, Hunter, Melton, and Mayfield in support of Calloway.

Thirty minutes of public discussion – which almost wasn’t public – took place before the Calloway vote.

Sharyon Mayfield moved to amend the agenda to allow an executive session to discuss the appointment. The motion had a majority 9-3 vote, but failed since it had to be unanimous.

The discussion began with Theresa Wyatt saying that the process was broken, and that last week the jury unanimously recommended Calloway.

Said Wyatt, “We are the governing body of the parish and look at the example we have set. We used what some say is a flawed system to elect an administrator. The same ones used the same system for another employee we hired, and they said nothing about the instrument being flawed.”

Wyatt was referring to a score sheet used to rank the different applicants. That ranking system had been used earlier this year when a new parish Registrar of Voters was appointed.

Matt Pullen responded that the scoring system was flawed.

Said Pullen, “Our system for supposedly picking any applicant is so flawed that it was evident in the scores that it was stacked. I think there were better candidates as a leader of our parish.”

Skip Russell said from his perspective the scoring was not fair.

Sharyon Mayfield noted, “When we left out of the meeting that night (last week), we said that we were going with Tracy 100%. We said it. We went around the whole table and we said yes. For us to come here tonight, and say that we are doing something different is totally wrong.”

In the course of the discussion, several jurors blurted out that a verbal vote was taken among the jurors while in an executive session following the interviews last week, and that vote was 7 to 5 in favor of Calloway.

A frantic Lewis Jones interrupted each time to say that no such vote was taken, and that the jurors “can not” publicly discuss what went on in the executive session.

Jones is an assistant District Attorney and is the legal advisor to the jury.

Lincoln Parish News Online has since learned that Jones was in that executive session last week.

Louisiana’s Open Meetings Law addresses the issue of secret votes.

LA RS 42:14 Meetings of public bodies to be open to the public
A. Every meeting of any public body shall be open to the public unless closed pursuant to R.S. 42:16, 17, or 18.
B. Each public body shall be prohibited from utilizing any manner of proxy voting procedure, secret balloting, or any other means to circumvent the intent of this Chapter.

06/10/2020

Lincoln Parish Police Jury Tuesday

06/08/2020

The regular monthly meeting of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury will be Tuesday, June 9, Lincoln Parish Library Events Center, 910 North Trenton. Committee meetings begin at 5:30 PM.

Health & Welfare Committee – 5:30 PM

Agenda

Solid Waste & Recycling Committee – 6:00 PM

Agenda

Police Jury – 7:00 PM

Agenda