Archive for the ‘Lincoln Parish Police Jury’ Category

Sparta Group Endorses Lt. Gov’s ‘Sparta Summit’

07/12/2018

The idea of a sixteen parish “Sparta Summit” meeting put forth Monday by Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser was formally endorsed by the Sparta Groundwater Commission at their quarterly meeting yesterday in Farmerville.

That regional meeting is designed to build grass-roots support for a unified course of action, along with possible funding ideas, related to the area’s primary source of safe drinking water.

Yesterday’s meeting also saw discussion of ideas put forward at Monday’s meeting, including the issue of water losses in the area’s water systems. It was estimated that as much as 15% of the water pumped from the aquifer doesn’t reach the user.

The group also heard from Todd Thomas, a VP with Central States Water Resources, a private water utility company.

Thomas said the company is doing very preliminary estimates on a water system at Lake Erling, just north of Springhill, LA on Bayou Bodcau.

He estimate that the project would cost about $70 million, and could supply as much as 10 million gallons/day of drinkable water.

He declined to estimate the cost to operate the system, but did say that similar systems that the company now operates range from $3.50 to $5.00 per thousand gallons delivered to the customer.

The next Sparta Commission meeting is set for October 10 in Webster Parish.

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Sheriff Agrees to Payback Agreement on New Jail Construction

07/11/2018

Lincoln Parish Sheriff Mike Stone agreed at last night’s meeting of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) to language guaranteeing repayment to the jury the cost of constructing a $2.75 million addition to the parish jail. That money would come from the detention center operating budget, which Stone controls.

Said Stone, “We know we have obligations, and we’re sure going to meet that to the best we can as long as I’m there. I don’t mind adding that on as an addendum to the legislation, or whatever.”

Stone’s remarks came in response to a series of questions from District Six Juror Walter Pullen.

Pullen asked who would be responsible for repayment, and expressed concern that jury needed formal assurance for that repayment.

Said Pullen, “We need to have something in writing that contractually obligates the Detention Center Commission to service the indebtedness to the best of their ability.”

District Nine Juror Joe Henderson, who also serves as the Detention Center Commission Chair, also agreed to those terms.

Henderson, “We have to understand and know that’s all going to be covered in the contract.”
Pullen: “But we need to make sure all that’s understood and in writing before we sign the contract.”
Henderson: “I know, but we’re going to make sure.”

The new ten thousand sq ft jail addition would create about 100 new spaces to house inmates, and would prevent having to house overflow prisoners at other local jails in adjoining parishes. When that condition occurs, the Lincoln jail must pay the housing costs to the other jails.

Several comments were made that suggested that the state legislation from 1982 that created the Commission already provided for repayment of the debt.

However, LA RS 15:848 et seq, the legislation from 1982 that created the commission has no such provision. That law only states that the commission is obliged to “operate and maintain” the jail.

The commission has a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with the Sheriff’s Office to furnish manpower for the jail. The Sheriff also controls the money that operates the jail, provides medical care, and feeds the prisoners

That agreement, at present, has no language in at all allowing debt obligations, or repayment of any debt.

Pullen also asked Stone if he were running for reelection, but Stone declined to say. Pullen said it was a legitimate question, because if any agreement were made with the sheriff as the operator of the jail, it could not enforceable beyond his existing term.

Lt. Governor Visits Jefferson Corner

07/09/2018

Billy Nungesser (L), Jeff Robinson, Bobby Bennett, Cody Richard

Saying that he was fulfilling a campaign promise to revisit the Jefferson Corner coffee club, Louisiana Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser showed up bright and early this morning to enjoy a cup of coffee with the group.

Nungesser made a campaign stop there in June, 2015 prior to his election.

Lincoln Parish Police Jury Meets Tuesday

07/09/2018

The Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) will meet Tuesday, July 10, Lincoln Parish Court House, third floor.

Public Works Committee – 6:30 PM
Agenda

Personnel Committee – 6:45 PM
Agenda

Police Jury – 7:00 PM
Agenda

Two Sparta Meetings This Week

07/08/2018

Two meetings related to the Sparta Aquifer will be held this week – one in Ruston on Monday, and the other in Farmerville on Wednesday.

The Monday meeting is billed as a planning meeting and will reportedly have Louisiana Lt Governor Billy Nungesser as a guest.

Monday, July 9, Ruston City Hall, 401 North Trenton, 3:00 PM
Agenda

The Wednesday meeting is the regular quarterly meeting of the Sparta Groundwater Commission.

Wednesday, July 11, Police Jury Meeting Room, 300 E. Water Street, Farmerville, 2:00 PM
Agenda

Preliminary Approval for LPPJ to Borrow on Jail Addition

06/28/2018

The U. S. Department of Agriculture has given preliminary approval for the Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) to apply for a loan to build a 10 thousand sq ft, $3 million addition to the Lincoln Parish Detention Center, it was told at yesterday’s meeting of the Detention Center Commission.

See here the document.

The next step is for a public hearing on the proposal, which is tentatively scheduled for the 7/10/18 meeting of the jury.

While the jury is legally obligated to pay off any loan, Lincoln Parish Sheriff Mike Stone has repeatedly said that the jury will be reimbursed from savings that the new building will accumulate. Presently, many prisoners are housed in adjacent parish jails, and Lincoln Parish must pay for their upkeep.

The jail houses about 100 state prisoners, and is paid about $24 each per day for upkeep. That money is a significant part of the revenue for jail operation.

It is unclear what kind of formal written agreement there will be between the jury and the sheriff for repayment of any loan, or even if there will be such an agreement other than verbal.

One other notable piece of news from Stone is that Major Chad Alexander has been assigned to the jail to assist Warden Jim Tuten.

LPPJ Scores Clean Audit

06/27/2018

The Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) earned an unqualified audit opinion for the the year ending 12/31/17, CPA William Hulsey told a special called meeting of the agency last night.

An unqualified opinion means that the financial statements present fairly the agency’s financial position according to generally accepted accounting principles.

Said Hulsey, “We had an unqualified opinion, which is the best opinion that you can get.” He added, “Expenses were down about $600 thousand. The general and administrative line item was down about $500 thousand.”

Hulsey noted that indicated good controls over administrative costs.

On an issue that has been of interest to us over the years, we asked Hulsey whether the long standing practice of appropriating monies from the Courthouse Capital Fund and spending it on other parish capital projects should trigger a finding.

According to prior years’ audits:

The Courthouse Capital Projects Fund (CCPF) is used to account for renovations of the Courthouse. Financing is provided primarily by operating transfers from the General Fund.

Earlier this year, some $800 thousand was transferred from that fund to pay for an addition to the Exhibition Center.

Several years ago, around a million dollars was transferred from the fund to pay for extensive renovations to the Lincoln Parish Detention Center.

Hulsey said he didn’t think the practice warranted a finding, but that he would contact the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s office to get their take on the issue.

Lincoln Parish Police Jury Tuesday

06/11/2018

The Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) will meet tomorrow (Tuesday, June 12), Lincoln Parish Court House, third floor.

Personnel/Benefits Committee – 6:00 PM
Agenda

Two items are notable here – a vacancy for the Parish Treasurer who has given notice. Megan Wiens was appointed to the position last August.

Also, pursuant to a law enacted during this year’s Regular Legislative Session, personnel from the local Public Defender’s Office may enroll in the group health insurance plan of the local governing authority.

Public Works Committee – 6:30 PM
Agenda

Police Jury – 7:00 PM
Agenda

Lincoln Parish Court House to get Security Improvements

05/09/2018

The Lincoln Parish Court House is about to get some security upgrades, after a vote to approve some of the recommendations heard in the Lincoln Parish Police Jury’s Public Property and Buildings Committee meeting.

Among the more significant improvements proposed are new entryway doors at the north ground floor and south first floor, a metal detector and package x-ray device for the south entryway, and a handicap access ramp for the south entryway.

When completed, the only access for the public will be through the south door that faces West Texas Avenue. The metal detector and x-ray will be placed at that location, and manned with two security guards whenever the court house is open.

Court house employees will be able to enter through the other entryways via an electronically activated lock.

Estimated cost of the improvements is about $128 thousand.

Jury Purchasing Agent Jeri Webb and Homeland Security Director Kip Franklin made the presentation.

Franklin noted that the courthouses in other area parishes had secure entryways in place, including Jackson, Bienville, and Ouachita.

Not approved was the hiring of the security guards. Jurors balked at the $32/hour rate for each of two Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office deputies.

The estimated yearly cost for the deputies is about $94 thousand.

See here the complete presentation.

Another court house issue addressed was repairs to the elevator. The device is vintage 1950, and has many outdated parts, which must be replaced.

The cost of that item was estimated at about $150 thousand.

See here the presentation.

In the full jury meeting, the opioid litigation was again on the agenda. Like last months meeting, there was considerable discussion.

Some jurors suggested the possibility of hearing more pitches from interested attorneys before making a final decision, but most were inclined otherwise.

Said District Six juror Walter Pullen, “What we should decide is, whether or not we’re going to pursue the action.”

Jury President Randy Roberson added, “I’m ready to vote now not to pursue it. I think it’s nothing but trouble.”

On a motion by Pullen – seconded by Annette Straughter – to decline participation in any lawsuit, the jury agreed 10-1. Voting no was Nancy Wilson. Jody Backus was absent.

In other business, there was a bit of commentary during the budget presentation regarding jury funding for sheriff’s deputy transportation of prisoners. That particular line item is budgeted for $30 thousand for the year.

Skip Russell (District 8) said, “Should we have the the detention center make some sandwiches, so they can take along with them? They won’t have to stop at these seafood places – they’re eating too good.”

Bobby Bennett added, “I hear potted meat’s on sale.”

Edited 5/11/18 – 1:00 PM

We were notified today that the pay rate for deputies should have been listed @ $22.50/hr, rather than the original $32/hr. The estimated yearly cost of $94 thousand is accurate.

Lincoln Parish Police Jury Tuesday

05/07/2018

The regular monthly meeting of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury will be Tuesday, May 8, Lincoln Parish Court House, third floor.

Here are the committee agendas and meeting times.

Public Works Committee – 6:15 PM

Public Property & Buildings Committee – 6:30 PM

Police Jury – 7:00 PM