Taxed Enough Already (TEA)


Poll finds Louisiana voters do not want their taxes increased – Friday, May 12, 2017

Raising taxes is not popular among Louisiana voters, according to a survey from Southern Media and Opinion Research.

Lawmakers have proposed increasing taxes on everything from a pack of cigarettes to a gallon of gasoline to close a looming budget hole. Pollster Bernie Pinsonat says two-thirds of voters say they do not want their legislator to raise the state’s gas tax.

“Increasing taxes on gasoline in this survey is very unpopular with only 29 percent wanting their state legislator to vote for a bill that would initially raise gasoline taxes by 17 percent,” Pinsonat said.

In this fiscal session, lawmakers had to resolve a $440 million budget shortfall for the next fiscal year, and deal with an imminent $1.3 billion fiscal cliff in 2018. Pinsonat says according to his survey, the public thinks the state has more than enough money.

“Fifty-four percent think the state government’s problems are primarily caused by too much spending, and only 26 percent believe the state government’s problems are caused by not having enough revenue,” Pinsonat said.

Pinsonat says while voters don’t want to see their own taxes go up, they also oppose an increase in business taxes. The survey finds 18 percent of respondents believe taxes on business are absorbed by profits, but 67 percent say the tax is passed on to the customers.

“They realize that when you tax a business, the taxes are going to end up being paid by them. So they’re almost as opposed to taxing business as paying more income tax. There’s really not much difference,” Pinsonat said.

LPPJ Nixes Lincoln Hall Alcohol Ordinance


Lincoln Parish Police Jury meeting – Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Faced with a meeting room filled to capacity with local citizens last night, the Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) refused unanimously to amend the parish property ban on alcohol and allow Lincoln Hall to host events where it may be served.

The vote was 10-0. Two jurors – Annette Straughter and Joe Henderson were absent. All the jurors present – Theresa Wyatt, Hazel Hunter, Bobby Bennett, Randy Roberson, David Hammons, Walter Pullen, Jody Backus, Skip Russell, Nancy Wilson, and Sharyon Mayfield – voted against the proposed amendment.

Lincoln Hall was constructed in 2002. It is a 4800 sq ft banquet facility located adjacent to the North Louisiana Exhibition Center off Hwy 33, about five miles northeast of Ruston. The present lease agreement is in force until 2032.

Present tenant Carl Burton had last March asked permission to sell the remainder of his lease to Jimmy Shuff, and change the terms to allow events with alcohol.

See here the ordinance amendment that was voted upon.

Among the citizens commenting at the public hearing were: Henry Watts, Larry Bullock, Nell Manesco, Tommy Fredericks, Keith Huffman, Maggie Brown, Jill Parkman, Don Roberts, Joe Brown, George Parkman, Paula Rose, Ron Adams, Sandy Brown, Sonny Barnett, and Francis Grafton.

All the remarks reflected a desire to keep the Exhibition Center and adjacent area “family friendly,” and noted the potential problems that alcohol could cause.

Some typical comments:

Sonny Barnett: “I think having alcohol in that close a proximity (to the Expo Center), sharing the same parking lots, is not a healthy thing.”

Joe Brown: “When it starts taking away from the Expo and the parish, that concerns me.”

Don Roberts: “This place has a reputation for wholesomeness – good clean fun.”

Jill Parkman: “I have three small children. We’ve lived in different locations, and we made the decision to come back to Ruston. We knew that we wanted to find a place that we could call home and look to the future. We were looking for a healthy environment.”

In other news, the jury’s Personnel/Benefits Committee voted to begin advertising for the position of Parish Treasurer. Laura Hartt, appointed to the position in October, 2015, has accepted a position with the City of Ruston, and will assume her duties later this year.

More Logan Paul in Ruston


With scenes from Sunday’s parade.

Logan Paul Vlog

Lincoln Parish Police Jury Tomorrow


The Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) will meet Tuesday, May 9, Lincoln Parish Court House, third floor. Committee meetings begin at 5:30 PM.

Personnel/Benefits Committee – 5:30 PM

Public Property & Buildings Committee – 6:30 PM

Police Jury – 7:00 PM

Who is Logan Paul and Why’s he in Ruston?


TV crew to film parade in Ruston

by Nancy Bergeron – Ruston Daily Leader

Area residents have the opportunity to be part of what’s being billed as the “greatest parade Ruston has even seen” next Sunday when a television film crew comes to town.

The Los Angeles-based crew wants people to line Park Avenue from the Historic Fire Station to Railroad Park at 2 p.m.

The film crew told city officials not to disclose the name of the cable television show, Kourtney Keim, Ruston’s communications director, said Friday.

Well, here’s his video blog from today:

Logan Paul Vlogs
Published on May 7, 2017

Lots of footage in Ruston, and also some of Dolph Williams’ cars at his warehouse on South Farmerville.

From yesterday:

My Mother’s Addiction
Logan Paul Vlogs
Published on May 6, 2017

LPSB Retireds to have Medicare as Primary Insurance


Retired employees of the Lincoln Parish School Board (LPSB) who qualify will be covered by Medicare as their primary insurance vehicle, rather than the district’s Blue Cross/Blue Shield group insurance program, if a plan discussed at last night’s board meeting is adopted.

Qualified individuals are those LPSB employees who have had sufficient civilian employment (40 quarters) that paid into Social Security/Medicare, and are 65 years or older.

Business Manager George Murphy said that continuing losses in the district’s self-funded plan made the changes necessary.

Said Murphy, “We actually had a meeting today with David Charpentier about carving out a portion for retirees and setting that as a separate plan. The plan right now is to meet with retirees and get their feedback and see if their amenable to it.”

He added, “There’s a plan that Humana has where the federal government through Medicare picks up a higher percentage of the cost of the plan.”

Another change coming is a wellness check for active employees, Murphy said.

“Starting on July the First, through July the First through June the Thirtieth of next year, every active employee, and their spouse if they have one, HAS TO HAVE a wellness check,” he said.

Murphy also reported on tax collections for the month of April.

See here the report.

Prior to the full board meeting, the Executive Committee met and revisited Superintendent Mike Milstead’s contract extension and pay raise, erroneously enacted at the March board meeting.

The committee unanimously voted for the extension and raise, and the full board ratified their recommendation.

Asked by a reporter from the Ruston Daily Leader what was the “procedural error” made at the March meeting, Chair Lynda Henderson said, “We were supposed to have a public meeting, and it won’t happen again. It was a mistake.”

Board President Joe Mitcham distributed a comparison of the base salaries of other area school superintendents.

Finally, the board adopted tax millages for 2017. The rates are the same as 2016, with the exception of a Choudrant District 20 mil tax reduced to 18 mils, and a Simsboro District 7.75 millage cut to 7.25.

See here the memo.

Lolley “Retires” From LA 2nd Circuit


Judge Lolley to retire from Second Circuit
Three area judges, including Ellender, Marchman, planning campaigns for the appeal court

By Zach Parker May 2, 2017

Second Circuit Court of Appeal Judge Larry Lolley, who drew scrutiny last fall for ex-parte communications with a Monroe attorney, is expected to take early retirement from the court, according to the appeal court’s chief judge.

Second Circuit Chief Judge Henry Brown Jr. said Lolley would retire on Wednesday. “He is retiring, effective May 3,” Brown said.

Lolley drew controversial attention last fall when copies of Oct. 27, 2016 text messages between he and Monroe attorney Mark Neal surfaced. The text messages constituted an ex-parte communication – which Lolley initiated – about one of Neal’s cases before the appeal court, as first reported by The Ouachita Citizen in November 2016.

The state Supreme Court’s Code of Judicial Conduct forbids any ex-parte communications concerning substantive matters or the merits of a case.

See here the complete article (subscription required).

More Property Bought for Ruston Sports Complex


Ruston’s Board of Aldermen approved unanimously at last night’s meeting a resolution authorizing the purchase of four parcels of land for the city’s planned recreation complex on South Farmerville Street.

The parcels are nearby other recently purchased land between South Farmerville and South Vienna (US 167). The sale amount cannot exceed the appraised value.

They include:

3.52 acres from Walter Don Davis, Jr., appraised for $124,200.

1.92 acres from Patrick T. Spivey, et al, appraised for $10,000.

1.44 acres from Kenneth Sanderlin, et ux, appraised for $4,500.

6.36 acres from Milt D. Andrews, et ux, appraised for $56,100.

See here the resolution.

In other business the board approved a cooperative endeavor agreement between the city and the Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) to pave Rough Edge Road between Hwy 80 and Burgessville Road. Part of the road is within Ruston’s city limits and part within parish jurisdiction. The city is to reimburse the jury for that part (about 3100 ft) inside the city.

There was an interesting conversation between Ward Four Alderman Jim Pearce and Mayor Ronny Walker before the vote took place. Pearce asked if the jury donated street repair work to other municipalities in Lincoln Parish.

Asked Pearce, “Does the police jury never overlay any streets within a municipality?”

Replied Walker, “Yes, they have overlayed some in the past few years for some of the smaller municipalities within our parish.”

Walker is a former juror.

Exhibition Center Commissioners Vote to Oppose Lincoln Hall Liquor Ordinance


The governing Board of Commissioners of the North Louisiana Exhibition Center last week voted unanimously to oppose an ordinance that would allow Lincoln Hall to serve alcohol at events, Lincoln Parish News Online (LPNO) has learned.

Lincoln Hall is a privately operated, parish owned facility adjacent to the Exhibition Center off Farmerville Highway north of Ruston.

In March, the Lincoln Parish Police Jury (LPPJ) Public Works Committee voted to draft an ordinance for the change, and a public hearing on the proposed ordinance will be held at next Tuesday’s (5/9/17) jury meeting.

Any interested citizen can make comments at the hearing.

See here the proposed ordinance.

LPPJ President Randy Roberson (District Four) said the commission was concerned about the ordinance, as many of the arena’s events are family oriented. Roberson is a member of the Exhibition Center Commission.

The arena and the hall share a common parking area.

Ruston City Council Monday


The Ruston City Council will meet Monday, May 1, 5:30 PM, Ruston City Hall, 401 North Trenton.

Here is the agenda.