Archive for the ‘Lincoln Parish Police Jury’ Category

Lincoln Hall now Part of Exhibition Center


On a 8-1 vote, the Lincoln Parish Police Jury last night decided that it could run the heretofore privately operated Lincoln Hall, and make money doing it. The plan is for the 8400 square foot meeting hall and kitchen to be run by North Louisiana Exhibition Center personnel.

The jury will pay leaseholder Carl Burton $210 thousand for the remaining 10 years on the existing lease.

Voting for the proposed agreement were: Wyatt, Durrett, Cranford, Scriber, Pullin, Henderson, Melton, and Straughter. Russell voted no.

Hunter, Hunt, and Mayfield were absent.

Parish Administrator Doug Postel said many individuals and organizations called the Expo Center and tried unsuccessfully to rent the venue, as it was run by Burton and his wife.

Said Postel, “She (Expo center director Angela Manning) gets calls on a weekly basis from individuals that would like to use the building for various events.”

He said schools, companies, bingo groups, family reunions, and quilting clubs were examples of who had expressed interest in renting the venue.

Postel said the estimates for revenues and expenses for the operation were “conservative.”

See here the hoped for payout.

Manning said she was willing to book and operate Lincoln Hall.

“If I had the book, I would know what’s going on at the expo and what’s going on out there (the hall), we could actually make it more user friendly,” she said. “I think it would work well together,” she said.

One juror asked about potential maintenance issues, to which Postel said he wasn’t aware of any, and thought the building had been well maintained.

Russell noted that since the lease had but 10 years to run, after which the juror would get the operation for no cost, it wasn’t a good deal.

We asked why no one had encouraged Burton to fulfill his part of the agreement and actually operate the facility, Postel said that his wife had suffered recent illnesses.

In other business, the jury elected Richard Durrett as president, and Milton Melton as vice-president.

Lincoln Hall Lease Issue Resurfaces


After nearly five years of relative quiet, the issue of whether or not the Lincoln Parish Police Jury should buy out Burton Entertainment’s lease on Lincoln Hall will be on next Tuesday’s jury agenda.

The 60′ x 140′ meeting hall style building is located adjacent to the North Louisiana Exhibition Center, just off the Farmerville Hwy about three miles from Ruston.

In 2002, Carl Burton signed a thirty year lease whereby in exchange for use of the parish-owned land, he would construct and operate the hall as a venue for weddings, receptions, meetings, reunions, and other such group events. The facility has a commercial kitchen for meal preparation.

The latest proposed agreement would have Lincoln Parish taxpayers pay $210 thousand for the 10 or so years remaining on the lease and would include the purchase of furniture, equipment, and cookware. The building already belongs to the parish, as it was constructed on parish property.

To our recollection, the jury has not recently discussed or authorized any negotiation with Burton for the lease.

The issue was debated by the jury in 2014 and 2017, but was deferred or tabled. In 2017, an unsuccessful effort was made to amend the parish’s liquor ordinance and allow alcohol to be served at the hall.

Tuesday’s (1/11/22) meeting is at 7:00 PM, Lincoln Parish Library Events Center, 910 North Trenton.

Here is the agenda.

Police Jury approves Capital Plan for Roads and Bridges


Four parish road bridges are scheduled to be replaced in 2022, according to the capital plan that was approved by the Lincoln Parish Police Jury at last night’s meeting.

Two bridges on Mondy Rd in the southwest part of the parish will be replaced, a bridge on Mitchell Rd. north of Simsboro also, and a bridge on Shady Grove Rd southwest of Simsboro will be replaced with two 10 foot rail tank car culverts.

Parish Administrator Doug Postel noted that the two bridges on Mondy Rd will be done simultaneously to save costs.

“We’re doing those at the same time because there’s a considerable cost savings,” he said.

See here the complete plan.

Several budgets received final approval including:

Road Superintendent Jerry Doss reported that right-of-way mowing had been completed for the year, and that next month the mowing crews will begin trimming tree limbs along parish roads.

Police Jury Meets Tuesday


The Lincoln Parish Police Jury will meet Tuesday, December 14, Library Events Center, 910 North Trenton Street.

No committee meetings are scheduled.

Here is the agenda.

Detention Center Budgets Introduced


Amended 2021 and proposed 2022 budgets were last Thursday introduced to the parish jail’s governing committee, the Lincoln Parish Detention Center Commission. That body is charged with overseeing the facility’s budget and operation. It is composed of two police jurors, the sheriff, the district attorney, and Ruston’s police chief.

Expenditures are predicted to increase almost $100 thousand, from $4.86 million in 2021 to $4.94 million in 2022.

Revenues are projected to decline from 2021’s $4.47 million to $4.38 million in 2022.

Warden Jim Tuten said that for 2021 the food costs increased.

“Our food costs are going up. It’s hard to lock in pricing on food. We anticipate that it will continue to go up,” he said.

Police Jury President Richard Durrett asked about the significant increase in personnel retirement costs, and Tuten said that the jail budget assumed all of those costs for 2021, part of which had formerly been paid by the sheriff’s office.

Tuten told the group that he plans to retire at the end of this year and that Assistant Warden J. D. Driskill will be taking his place.

Driskell said that the estimated fund balance at the beginning of 2022 should be $1.96 million.

A December 15 meeting and public hearing is set to finally adopt the budget. No one from the DA’s office was at last week’s meeting, nor the previous 9/30/21 meeting.

Jury dogged by Four Paws volunteers after meeting


Several Four Paws Animal Rescue members scolded the Lincoln Parish Police Jury in an impromptu gathering after the official meeting had been adjourned, saying it was “unconscionable” that the jury cut funding for the group. The freewheeling discussion immediately followed comments during the meeting by jury administrator Doug Postel and Four Paws Director Sue Martin.

Postel said the jury continues to work with the sheriff on their comprehensive animal control plan for the parish.

Said Postel, “We’ve engaged in a new relationship with Simply Southern Rescue here in Ruston. Simply Southern is willing to work with us on a per animal basis. That fits into our comprehensive plan. At the same time we make that same offer to any animal rescue operations in the parish. We’re more than happy to work with them on a per animal basis.”

Martin was confined to a three-minute comment period, and addressed a prepared document that was provided by the jury administration.

Said Martin, “In 2016, we were going to build a shelter with the parish and the city and Four Paws. That never happened.”

She also addressed the claim that Four Paws had turned away animals from the parish. “I also need to address all of the things that Mr. (LPSO Deputy) Sasser has here. These animals were not brought to us. We have never, ever turned away an animal brought to us by Rob Sasser.”

Martin concluded, “Your comprehensive plan is sending animals to a kill shelter. We can do better than that.”

After Martin concluded, the meeting was adjourned and the crowd milled about talking to individual jurors. A consensus was arrived at to allow other individuals to speak informally.

Almost all the jurors were still in the room.

Judith Howard was first to speak.

“The primary goal seems to be just to get rid of the problem by sending all the dogs to Ouachita Parish where they have a 41% euthanasia rate. What I’m getting from this jury is that’s okay. It’s okay that you send them to another parish to get killed as long as you don’t have to deal with it. And I find that unconscionable.”

She added, “I don’t understand why we don’t have our own shelter in this parish, instead of dumping your problem, our problem on another parish. Does this jury have the funds to build a shelter?”

Juror Logan Hunt spoke up at this point, saying, “I’m open to partner to the city and try to get that project back online.”

Terry Nix passionately implored the jury to reconsider the de-funding decision.

Jane Jenkins commented that they jury should consider a spay/neuter ordinance, similar to what is under consideration in Caddo Parish.

Several jurors implied that some sort of compromise might be arrived at with Four Paws.

Said Skip Russell, “I think that a number of us would like to sit down with your board of directors and just let’s talk.”

Juror Glenn Scriber noted that no one from Four Paws was at the October budget discussions to make a presentation.

Martin said that she had in the past never been asked to do that, and was unaware that complete de-funding was being contemplated.

“As for the October meeting, I’ve never gone to an October meeting,” she said.

Someone in the audience commented that Ruston Mayor Ronny Walker should be a part of any discussion, as a $1.2 milliion animal shelter was a major component of his 2016 Moving Ruston Forward program. A 3/4 cent sales tax was approved by Ruston voters to fund the projects.

The next formal step in the process is a December 14 public hearing prior to a final vote to adopt all the police jury budgets for 2022.

That public hearing would be the last opportunity to make changes to what has been proposed.

Police Jury Meeting Tuesday


The Lincoln Parish Police Jury will meet Tuesday, November 16, Library Events Center, 910 North Trenton.

Police Jury Special Meeting – 5:15 PM

Employee Recognition Committee – 5:30 PM

Public Works Committee – 6:00 PM

Police Jury Regular Meeting – 6:30 PM

2020 LPPJ Audit Cites Findings


The Lincoln Parish Police Jury audit for calendar year 2020 was made public early this morning, and the report has several findings:

  • As of December 31, 2020, the bank statements had not been reconciled since March 2020, including the main operating account which is the pooled cash account for several of the Police Jury’s major funds.
  • The biweekly payroll transfers were not reconciled since May 2020. Also, the payroll transfers were not recorded since May 2020.
  • Numerous cash and checks were held in the Police Jury offices and not deposited for several weeks after receipt. In addition, multiple deposits were made with no backup or receipt. Cash was also deposited without the evidence of a count sheet.
  • During the audit, it was noted that the Treasurer’s office made purchases for office supplies and small office equipment circumventing the Purchasing department’s procedures. In several instances these purchased items were shipped to an address other than the Police Jury. The treasurer’s office purchased new office furniture without getting the approval of the Purchasing Director.
  • During the audit, it was noted that sales taxes collected on the revenue from RV spots had not been submitted nor had the sales tax reports been prepared since October 2020.
  • Funding from Rural Development for construction of the Detention Center Dormitory was delayed due to the annual certification process through the System of Awards Management not being performed.
  • During the 2020 year end audit, it was noted that the prior year audit adjustments had not been recorded.

In each case, management has acknowledged the problems and claims to have put into place procedures to prevent future issues.

See here the complete report.

The audit was performed by Monroe CPA William Hulsey, and dated September 27, 2021

4 Paws Defunded by Police Jury


4 Paws Rescue, a Ruston-based non-profit that provides food, shelter, and medical care for stray dogs was denied a $24 thousand funding request by a unanimous vote of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury at last night’s meeting.

For 2021, the agency was given $24 thousand, and in 2020, $36 thousand was allocated. Funding for 4 Paws has been allocated by the jury in various amounts since we began coverage in 2009.

Parish Administrator Doug Postel said the parish has a comprehensive animal control program, with the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office implementing it through their animal control officer.

Said Postel, “I don’t know if we have utilized the services of 4 Paws this year – maybe less than ten times have we taken any animals there.”

He added that most animals are taken to Ouachita Parish which has a network of rescue facilities that they work with. Ouachita Parish is paid on a per animal basis, which is what the jury would propose to do in the future for any local facility, he said.

The jury’s Finance Committee recommended – and the full jury approved – all the other entities’ funding requests for 2022. See here the complete list.

Also approved was a 2 1/2% cost of living raise for all parish employees.

A special called meeting of the jury was scheduled for Tuesday, November 16, 5:15 PM to canvass the election results of the upcoming election set for Saturday, November 13. Among the items on the ballot is a 4.49 mil property tax to fund the Lincoln Parish Library.

Last December, a 5.85 mil tax proposal was defeated by Lincoln Parish voters.

The jury also adopted a resolution of condolence on the death of long-time former District Three juror Bobby Bennett. The resolution noted Bennett’s years of service and the many committees that he served on. See here the resolution.

Lincoln Parish Police Jury Tuesday


The Lincoln Parish Police Jury will meet Tuesday, October 12, Lincoln Parish Library Events Center, 910 North Trenton. Here are the agendas:

Insurance Committee, 5:45 PM – agenda

Public Works Committee, 6:00 PM – agenda

Personnel/Benefits Committee, 6:15 PM – agenda

Finance Committee, 6:30 PM – agenda

Police Jury, 7:00 PM – agenda