Public Hearing & Special Meeting Minutes Thursday, June 30, 2017 10:00 A.M.
Members in Attendance: Alderperson Donald Richard Alderperson Janice Fleming Alderperson Leola Keys Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland
The Town of Richwood met for a Public Hearing &Special Meeting held on June 30, 2017 at 10:00 A.M. at the Richwood Multi-Purpose Center, 2710 Martin Luther King Drive, Richwood, Louisiana to consider the following business:
I. Meeting Called to Order by Mayor Gerald Brown at 10:00 A.M.
II. Prayer- was offered by Mayor Gerald Brown
III. Pledge of Allegiance – recited in unison
IV. Roll Call- Mayor Gerald Brown called roll with the following results: Four (4) Board Members Present
Absent: Alderperson Simeon Profit
Present: Alderperson Donald Richard Alderperson Janice Fleming Alderperson Leola Keys Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland
V. Adoption of the Agenda:
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- stated the budget item presented is a draft and not the actual legal document, and they cannot adopt a draft, they can adopt an ordinance.
Mayor Gerald Brown- explained the budget item entitled draft is part of the budget issue, the introduction of the ordinance is the other part of the budget issue; but the draft is entitled draft because it may or may not be a finished product based on what they did at the meeting today; so, to not confuse anyone as to the proposed budget being the actual adopted budget, it is entitled draft, based on the discussions today with the Public and the Board items on the draft may adjust.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- inquired if they were introducing the ordinance and then adopting the ordinance?
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised no, they were introducing the ordinance today and then it must be published in the official journal; after this they will come back and vote on the adoption of the ordinance.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- questioned why the ordinance was being introduced as the Introduction of Ordinance 2017-09 (An Ordinance Adopting the Town’s Expenditures for the Fiscal Year 2017-2018)
Mayor Gerald Brown- explained it is the law, when an ordinance is introduced it must provide the reference of what the ordinance pertains, and after the ordinance is introduced, it is then published and voted on for adoption at the next meeting.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- read the published notice of the pending budget and the process to view the budget at the Town, as well as submit any suggestions for changes to the budget. Alderperson Cleveland questioned if this was published in the Free Press, and when was the notice published.
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised the forum the notice had been in the paper for at least 2 weeks.
*** INAUDIBLE DISCUSSION ENSUED AT THE TABLE***
Mayor Gerald Brown – provided Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland a copy of the Free Press (the Town’s Official Journal) which showed the date the notice was published, confirming the posting of the Budget Notice in the Official Journal according to law requirements.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- questioned as to the posting of the May Regular Minutes in the June Free Press, and why the June Minutes were not showing?
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland the question at hand was whether the Budget Notice had been placed in the Official Journal as required, and the copy of the Free Press he provided Alderperson Cleveland showed the notice had been properly advertised.
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised Alderperson Cleveland and the Forum, the June minutes would not be in that particular paper which he provided Alderperson Cleveland, but would be in an upcoming copy.
Mayor Gerald Brown-advised Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland he (Alderperson Cleveland) had just brought up to the forum the legal requirement of the Notice of the Budget to be posted.
** A comment was received from the floor pertaining to the Town’s Responsibility to print the notification ad as a larger print item in the official journal ***
Public Attendee (Mr. Jimmy Thomas)- indicated the people attending does not accurately reflect the citizens which would have attended had they known about the meeting on the budget, and questioned if the ad showing the Town was having a public hearing about the budget was in the paper Mayor Brown showed Alderperson Cleveland?
Mayor Gerald Brown – answered yes.
Public Attendee (Mr. Jimmy Thomas)- inquired why wasn’t an ad placed in big print in the front of the paper to let everyone know we were having a Town Hall Meeting on June 3rd about the budget, everyone does not read the fine print.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- commented we pay him (referencing the official journal).
Public Attendee (Mr. Jimmy Thomas)- commented it could not be said the citizens didn’t the citizens didn’t know about the budget hearing because of the ad size, and some of it is your fault and some of it is not. we pay the official journal to print the ad, and if the News Star printed the ad it would not have been that small, we pay him (referring to the official journal)
Mayor Gerald Brown- stated that would have been something I paid for, (referencing the comment made about the News Star),
Mayor Gerald Brown- explained the printing of the Budget Notice was done according to the law requirements, and he has not found anywhere specifying the size of the notification, in 10 years he has never seen where a full- page ad was taken out for the budget.
Mayor Gerald Brown – advised the forum, we do not have a stipend for ads, but we have a stipend for the official journal.
Mayor Gerald Brown-explained the Free Press is our official journal and they printed the ad as required, we pay the Free Press to be our journal, a full page, half- page or quarter page would be another expense.
Mayor Gerald Brown- requested a motion to adopt the agenda.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- stated, he didn’t see why the introduction of the ordinance had to say, Introduction of Ordinance 2017-09 (An Ordinance Adopting the Town’s Expenditures for the Fiscal Year 2017-2018, he thinks it should only say Ordinance 25017-09.
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised Alderperson Cleveland the description of the ordinance is a law requirement, you must have a heading indicating what the ordinance pertains to when it is being introduced.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- stated he disagreed with voting to introduce the ordinance as specified; and that he wanted the description of the ordinance deleted.
Mayor Gerald Brown- stated it was a requirement of the law that the heading be included
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- stated if they are not adopting the ordinance today it would be late because today is the last fiscal day, and July 1, is a new fiscal period.
Ms. Blackmon (Public Attendee)- inquired as to why the budget was late?
Mayor Gerald Brown- indicated that was a good question, and it was his fault due to trying to put everything together properly and try to take all things into consideration, it was his fault the budget is being presented late, it will be a few days late, and he takes the responsibility of it being late.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland – stated he wanted to introduce the ordinance.
Mayor Gerald Brown- indicated that is what they were doing.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland – inquired as to why the budget would be late with the Town having J. Walker and the Fiscal Officer?
Mayor Gerald Brown- indicated, by law he is responsible for the presentation of the budget to the Board and with the assistance of the Fiscal Officer & J.W. Walker he is presenting the budget.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- stated without clarification of the Professional Services on the budget he will not vote to introduce the ordinance.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- stated to do this would be a violation of the citizen’s rights, and they had been asked by citizens to do this; Per Alderperson Cleveland this item should have been on the agenda.
Mayor Gerald Brown- inquired how is that violating the citizens’ rights, when the notice was printed in the official journal, as the law required and posted here at the building as the law required.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- stated we should have been discussed at the June Regular Meeting before the introduction of the budget.
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised there is nothing that says this item must be on the agenda at the meeting prior to the introduction of the budget.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- addressed the Board Members and advised if they adopt this agenda they are adopting the budget.
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised the Board adopting the agenda does not adopt the ordinance, it allows them to introduce the ordinance and discuss any issues they may have, then he would ask the Board when they would like to come back and vote on the ordinance.
Alderperson Leola Keys- inquired as to why did the Mayor say this being late was his fault?
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised the Board he went through the records we had, the systems we had, and because of that, unfortunately this one is going to be a few days late, its’ going to be a few days late, but we are going to have an adopted budget, well I can’t say that because that’s up to y’all.
Public Attendee (Mr. Jimmy Thomas)- inquired as to what business Mr. Walker has with the budget? He’s supposed to be the one, you him and the Aldermen sit down and go over this, I’m trying to let you know all this is not your fault; some of it is, all of it’s not; but I’m not going to sit here and let you throw that weight on your back and break it, all of this is not your fault, you are paying the man $22,000.00 a year, let him do his job.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- stated, the state said he (Mr. Walker) was going to train Ms. Jolla for 2 ½ years to come out here and do what’s needed and then he was going to be gone, that is the determination of the court, I have the determination of the court papers showing the determination of the court, he was terminated here, Ms. Jolla should be all on top of her ballgame and be able to explain everything to the Board.
Mayor Gerald Brown- stated, he was not saying she can’t.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- stated we have a lot of variables we need to look at, and he was willing to adopt the agenda, but only if they deleted the phrase (An Ordinance Adopting the Town’s Expenditures for the Fiscal Year 2017-2018); I would vote yes but you have to take that off.
Mayor Gerald Brown – explained, they could not delete that phrase, it is a requirement by law the heading of an ordinance must state what the ordinance is about, if you don’t describe what the ordinance is it is not valid, you must describe what the ordinance is.
Alderperson Leola Keys- asked, the budget, how much you Mr. Walker and the Board should have had input?
Mayor Gerald Brown- stated, the Lawrason Act states the budget is prepared by him and given to you; now it was prepared by me with the assistance of the Fiscal Officer, CPA and the Clerk, and it was prepared by the Mayor’s Office and submitted to the Board.
Alderperson Leola Keys- inquired if the CPA was noted in the Lawrason Act?
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised, no it was prepared by him, but he did get some assistance, that’s why he said on any lateness concerning the budget, he takes responsibility.
Ms. Blackmon Public Attendee- commented she thought that would have been his job to prepare this budget.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- commented, “we can go line item by line, see what’s what, it’s going to take time, I better make some money if I’m going to be here, I need some money already, decrease. I’m not going to adopt nothing, I’m not going to adopt nothing, until (inaudible comment).
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised it’s not up for adoption, we are not here to adopt this but introduce it.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- commented we are adopting a draft.
Mayor Gerald Brown- stated we are not adopting a draft, because it is not up for adoption today, and the reason it says draft, is because it is not the final.
Mayor Gerald Brown – requested the vote to adopt the agenda.
Alderperson Janice Fleming- stated she did not understand the problem, and why you (Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland) are saying no to adopt the agenda.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- stated he could not see the figures through the word “draft” on the proposed budget, and he would not adopt the agenda unless he received a copy without the word draft on it.
Mayor Gerald Brown- asked Alderperson Cleveland, “You can’t see the numbers through the word draft? You mean to tell me you can’t see through the word draft?”
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- stated I’ve been asking for professional service for 2 months and haven’t gotten a breakdown on that, now you got it back on here again, and I don’t know what I’m going to be voting on.
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised they were not at the point of voting on anything yet, they were trying to get the agenda adopted.
Alderperson Janice Fleming- asked if Alderperson Cleveland could be given a copy of the budget without the word draft on it?
Fiscal Officer- advised no, not at the moment, not right now.
Mayor Gerald Brown- (continued with the request to vote on the adoption of the agenda) the Mayor asked Alderperson Cleveland how was he voting on the adoption of the agenda?
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- stated, No, not until I get what I asked for.
Mayor Gerald Brown – asked Alderperson Janice Fleming for her vote to adopt the agenda.
Alderperson Janice Fleming- stated she was totally confused, and she was going to abstain on the vote to adopt the agenda; because she didn’t understand any of this, she didn’t understand.
Alderperson Donald Richard- voted yes to adopt the agenda.
Alderperson Janice Fleming- inquired, so what are we doing?
Mayor Gerald Brown – advised, without being able to adopt today’s agenda, we are not doing anything.
Question from the floor – was there any way you can take the word draft off?
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- stated when looking at it, and the citizens looking at it, there should not be draft written on it anywhere, it should be clear, and he had asked Ms. Woods, about this word “draft” on a paper a month ago, and had asked why the word “draft” could not be taken off.
Ms. Woods (Town Clerk) -advised because this is not the final, this is just an introduction.
Alderperson Janice Fleming- replied, and advised Alderperson Cleveland, this is just like a proof, it’s like a proof, when you have a picture you have a proof.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- stated he wanted information on Professional Services, that’s why he was mad.
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised Alderperson Cleveland that if we get to that point, we can describe to you what that entails, if not we can’t.
Alderperson Janice Fleming- stated, no I’m going to adopt it, because we need to discuss this.
Mayor Gerald Brown- stated, if you vote yes, then I will vote yes to break the tie.
Alderperson Janice Fleming- stated, we’ve got to get to some point where we can figure out what’s going on, if we are worrying about a word on here, we’re not going to ever get to the meat of the matter which is to discuss the point.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- stated, we had a whole month Mrs. Fleming.
Alderperson Janice Fleming- stated it doesn’t matter what we had we got the draft here, it’s just like a proof.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- stated, with all due respect, I’m not going to go along with this.
Alderperson Janice Fleming- stated, you don’t have to.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland – stated, because there was June Meeting, we had June Regular meeting, it should have been brought up in June regular meeting, I don’t get crammed up the last minute, and just say this week we do it, and then you put adoption on it too.
Y’all are going to be adopting a budget and introducing, they going to be sending it in.
Mayor Gerald Brown- stated, Mr. Cleveland I would love for you to read the law, so you can stop doing whatever you are doing here today.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- commented, he had his rights.
Mayor Gerald Brown- stated, you have your right to say no, but you don’t have the right to describe this as something it isn’t, you don’t have the right to do that.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland – voted no to adopt the agenda.
Mayor Gerald Brown- acknowledged the votes which occurred as follows: We have 2 No Votes and 2 Yes Votes, and I vote break that tie with Yes, so todays agenda is adopted.
****(Official Account of Action Taken) ****
* It was motioned by Alderperson Donald Richard and seconded by Alderperson Janice Fleming to adopt the agenda as presented.
A vote was taken with the following results:
Alderperson Donald Richard Yes Alderperson Leola Keys No
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland No Alderperson Janice Fleming Yes
* Vote was a tie vote, Mayor Gerald Brown voted Yes to break the tie.
VI. Public Comments as It Relates to the Budget:
Public Attendee (Mr. Jimmy Thomas)- inquired as to the amount being received from RCC (Richwood Correctional Center).
Mayor Gerald Brown – indicated that amount has not changed.
Public Attendee (Mr. Jimmy Thomas)- inquired regarding any legal proceedings to have this amount adjusted?
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised yes, this is a legal issue that we have an attorney looking at, but we can’t do guess work or suppositional work on the budget, we have to leave it the way it is for today.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- stated speaking of Richwood Correctional Center, on the 2016- 2017 Budget which was adopted it was supposed to be $102,000, but only shows $93,500 in 17, why under RCC it showing a $9,000 difference less than previously shown for Richwood Correctional.
Mayor Gerald Brown- explained it’s actually $8500, one of the payments had not come in at the time this information was put together; so, we can only reflect on the budget what had come in, not on what was anticipated; it was just a check had not come in as normal.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- stated, you know it was coming, we should have noted $102,000. .
Mayor Gerald Brown- stated, you can’t record it until it comes, you’re right it is contracted to come, but we can’t record it until it comes.
Ms. Blackmon (Public Attendee)- inquired as to how the funds were posted when they are received?
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised we don’t control the receiving of the checks, sometimes we may get 2 (two) checks in one month, with one at the beginning and another at the ending of the month; we record the checks as they come in, it’s not an error we just can only show what has been received.
Tanisha Jolla (Fiscal Officer)- advised the date we received it to deposit, is the date that is on there, we do have an invoice system which will reflect back to that month, however the payment will reflect the month it comes in.
*** Inaudible comments ** Discussion ensued **
Mayor Gerald Brown- stated the funds had not been received yet, and you can’t post funds as received if they haven’t been received, normally we receive one check per month, it’s not an error, we just post the funds as received.
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised it depends on the event and the number of people.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- asked if he came and wanted to rent the building for 4(four) hours how much would it be?
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised it depends on the event.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- asked if the building was being rented for a flat $400.00?
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised, no it is not a flat rate of $400.00 it depends on the type of event and number of people you are expecting.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- commented he spoke with Mrs. Woods and if you go over your time it is another $50.00 per hour.
Mayor Gerald Brown- indicated that is a part of it.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland -commented a person could end up spending $600 or $700 to rent the building.
Mayor Gerald Brown indicated not so.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- inquired if the Board had voted for the $400 fee, and then stated the Board had not voted for this fee.
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised the Board does not have to, in the beginning he went to the Legislative of Auditors and asked that question, is that a fee set by his office, or a fee that is set by the Board and was told that is a fee that is set by my office. We have come to the Board and advised them of the fee and no one voiced a problem with it.
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised it is $400 if there is more than 50 people there is $100 refundable deposit, the building is rented in 6-hour blocks, if you go over the 6 hours then it is an additional $50.00 per hour each hour you go over that block, it is $250 if it is less than 50 people and the same stipulations apply.
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised he had researched the rates charged by other venue renters such as the recreation centers, Monroe Civic Center and the Country Club before setting the rate.
Public Attendee (Ms. Blackmon)- commented pertaining to the use of the Country Club.
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised the Country Club is a venue in Charmingdale, where people host weddings, parties etc. and the rate the Town charges was because of all the use on the Towns electric, gas and the wear and tear on the on the appliances in the industrial kitchen.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- inquired as to the $7,000.00 amount noted as monies showing for the Multi-Purpose Building rental amount. Per Alderperson Cleveland, he felt this amount was off because if you rent the building Friday, Saturday and Sunday that would be more.
Mayor Gerald Brown – stated, that never happens, no one comes and says give me this building for three days, since I’ve been in office that never has happened, no one has come and wanted to rent this building for 3 (three) days, they may want it for a day and rent the park but not for three days at least since he has been in office it has never happened.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland – stated he passed by and saw Carolyn Dunn sitting out in front of the building about 11 o’clock, and when they came who ever opened the building had to get out by 1:00 she didn’t get a chance to setup, public works did not sit the with her whole family, and he stopped and talked with Mrs. Dunn, and she said she had rented the building and paid $500 in cash and was only allowed to access the building from 11:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. and had to get out after just 1 hour.
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised since he has been in office that has never happened.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- stated he didn’t think it was right that the citizens have to pay $400 to use the Multi-Purpose Building, and he is going to be cautious about what he put his name on, because right now he, Mr. Kelly, and Mr. Holmes is tied up right now because they voted on this building and come to find out the money to complete the building was short and now they held up.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- said the Town can move (in audible amount) from Public Works and put it up somewhere else.
Mayor Gerald Brown- stated, no I can’t do that, I can’t take money from one-line item and move it to another line item, unless I come to the Board and have it done.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- stated, they have the transportation funds, what happened to the transportation fund monies?
Mayor Gerald Brown- stated transportation funds are a part of HB 1 that’s the budget for the State of Louisiana; those transportation funds I think you are talking about is the 8% we used to get and the 3% Sterlington used to get that didn’t go directly to the Parish, were diverted directly to us, that had to happen with an amendment by Senator Thompson; he has to make that amendment every year to House Bill 1. This year and last year Senator Thompson advised based on the state of the budget, they did not accept any amendments to the budget, so those monies were cut off, it is his hope that he will be able to re-establish those coming up to 2018/2019, but right now those amendments are not accepted.
Alderperson Leola Keys- stated, you said you can’t move funds around, my question is what happened to the Town’s 2015 PTA (Parish Transportation Money, ear marked money for 2015, you told Mr. Cleveland you can’t move it around, my question is what happened to the money, Mr. Walker did something with it.
Mayor Gerald Brown- stated, I said I can’t, now again, Mr. Walker was the Fiscal Administrator, he was subject to different rules and regulations than me.
Alderperson Leola Keys- stated it was moved around somewhere.
Mayor Gerald Brown- indicated I’m not saying it wasn’t, I’m saying I can’t, I can’t come in here and take the Transportation money and use it to pay the light bill with it, I can’t do it.
Alderperson Leola Keys – inquired what are we getting now?
Mayor Gerald Brown – stated, for Transportation? Zero
Alderperson Leola Keys- stated, because we didn’t do what we suppose to do.
Mayor Gerald Brown- stated, that is not the reason why, the reason why is because no amendments were accepted, and I have an email from Senator Thompson’s office if you would like me to print it out and give it to you as to what happened.
Alderperson Leola keys – commented it wasn’t spent on roads.
Mayor Gerald Brown- stated, I’m just not sure why we are asking questions from 3years ago.
Alderperson Leola Keys- stated when I saw Transportation (0) zero, I wondered what happened to that 80,000, because if you never used it where is it?
Mayor Gerald Brown – stated there are some funds in the Transportation Account, which we give you financial statements every month, we currently have about $222,000 in that fund.
Alderperson Leola Keys- asked, if that 80,000 was a part of it?
Mayor Gerald Brown- stated, I can’t answer that question, I would have to go back and look through it.
Alderperson Leola Keys – stated Walker said it, Bruno said it and Mayor Jackson said, they didn’t know what happened to that money.
Mayor Gerald Brown- stated, I am still trying to figure out what that has to do with this budget.
Alderperson Janice Fleming- that is probably why you had to have the fiscal auditor because so many mysterious things was being done, that’s why the auditor had to come in and straighten things out, you had so many errors and people not knowing, you had to get someone come in and say this is what we need to do, this is the way we need to do it, this the way it should be done.
The money is in there, because I came in and spoke to him one on one about transportation, in his office, the report we get every month showing $222000 something dollars that is the only thing I can go off of now , I don’t know what happened 3 years ago.
Alderperson Leola Keys- stated she see this, but her question was, is that 80,000 in there, and she doesn’t know this.
Alderperson Janice Fleming- when I went to him,(the Mayor), he told me he had it in the works for Lynn Drive and Honeysuckle and one other street, they have it in the works to use a portion of that $228,000, that’s when I asked him about other projects we are doing, now he told me these things are in the works, but they have to go through legal channels, especially the house on the end, and we need to have more beautification steps for the entrance of the Town.
Alderperson Leola Keys- said she is in the opinion of learning, and when you learn you just add more to it.
Public Attendee (Linda Clark) – commented on the condition of the streets and they are in need of repair and that concerns us.
Mayor Gerald Brown – stated he agreed with her, that is the reason a few months ago he came to the Board and requested the hiring of an engineering firm, and you can’t just go out and properly fix the streets, without someone who actually knows what they are doing, just like you stated a few moments ago, patching holes is alright, but it’s not going to last very long without someone knowing what they are doing.
No, it is not in the budget, because any time a project comes up, that project is going to come up before the Board, it’s going to come up under the Bid Law it’s not a matter of the budget, it’s going to come up based on Bid Law for the Alderpersons whenever a job becomes available, he is not on like a retainer, we don’t pay him a monthly fee, you pay him when he does a job, not just to have the title of being engineer.
Public Attendee (Mrs. Blackmon) – commented, so he’s going to have 2 jobs
Mayor Gerald Brown- stated, actually has several jobs actually, he’s the Parish Engineer, works for Lazenby & Associates , I think he is the director of planning and zoning, but what I am saying is we don’t just pay him for being the engineer.
**Question from the floor how that would work?
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised first he will submit the job, the estimate and the bid and we will turn that over to the Board because the Board has to sign off on that before he can start that, once the Board do it, then we can start with the project, if they don’t, then we won’t.
Alderperson Leola Keys- inquired if the Board objected to getting an engineer?
Mayor Gerald Brown- replied, no.
**Comment came from the floor- the streets in Richwood don’t need resurfacing, they need to be totally redone.
Mayor Gerald Brown- replied, I tend to agree with that, but are you aware of the cost of that undertaking? Approximately billions of dollars, now we have gone out and looked at several areas that need rehabbing and he is looking at those areas to see where we can get the biggest bang for our buck, and we also have a grant that we have applied for, hoping it will fill in the gaps of some of those areas.
Public Attendee***Question from the floor, as to why this budget is not on legal paper?
Mayor Gerald Brown- stated that the only thing he could say, from his experience as an alderperson they have never received an 11×14, plat, portrait, or anything like that, this is what they have always received.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland – stated he had one thing he wanted to leave, that 20cent mill collecting $138,000 dollars, and this line is suppose to be for police, maintenance and recreation, we have a $138,000 dollars, yet nothing talking about recreation for these kids in this budget, we have an old gym, we can take $50,000 dollars of that money, put it to use in our old Richwood Gym and we can hire someone pay them $18,000 a year to help supervise it, and we can have that gym open.
Alderperson Janice Fleming- commented that is what Epting was going to do, he was going to renovate the whole building.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- stated, yes, but we have our own money, the tax payers are paying 20 mill a year.
Alderperson Janice Fleming- stated, yes, but why use our money if he was going to get grants?
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- stated it is allocated for that, that’s what we voted for, 20 Mill.
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised, that is true, but this funds are for Police, Maintenance and Recreation, and there is nothing that stipulates how much of those funds must go to either one of those entities.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- stated we have $138,000 dollars, and we don’t have but (2) two police officers, salaries is but $55,000
Mayor Gerald Brown- stated as you see in the budget, we are asking you to approve an additional.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- said, yes but we have $ 138,000 dollars.
Mayor Gerald Brown- inquired of Alderperson Cleveland, does he realize how fast you can spend $138,000 dollars, and commented half of the funds are spent on the police in salaries.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- indicated yes, but he would like to use the other half on recreation, $50,000 can do a lot, it wouldn’t take much to fix the gym up.
Alderperson Leola Keys- commented, you are misrepresenting yourself when funds are earmarked for those things and you don’t use it.
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised that is what we are using it for, in our particular case, maintenance and police is what is driving us right now.
*** Discussion ensued about the safety to businesses and the community**
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised the forum, he is asking for another officer.
Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland- stated he wanted (2) more officers and have at least 1 work at night.
*** Comments were made as to how good the previous police department was in the 70’s. **
Public Attendee (Audwin Madison)- addressed the forum and commented to supplement the cost of the Police Department, issuing the tickets can help with the revenue.
Alderperson Janice Fleming- commented on where you once did not see the State Police and Sherriff issuing tickets, now you see them in our jurisdiction and beyond issuing tickets.
Mayor Gerald Brown – advised, yes part of that is revenue, but even more so safety, that they are partnering with us, because he wants to stop seeing people hit while trying to cross the street and all these wrecks so the main focus is safety, to partnership with the State Troopers Office and the Sherriff.
Alderperson Janice Fleming- commented on people speeding within the Town’s limits.
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised that is part of the reason they want to hire another officer, because the (2) officers we have cannot sit out there all day; they have to answer other calls, come in and write reports, so we need another officer.
Public Attendee (Mr. Jimmy Thomas)- commented on setting lower speed limits especially where there are children.
***Inaudible discussions occurring***
Mayor Gerald Brown- indicated that they plan to randomly have (2) two officers patrol at night, upon occasion, if (1) one officer had to work by himself, he felt better if that occurs in the day time hours.
VII. Closing of Public Hearing
Mayor Gerald Brown- asked if there were any other questions in Public Comments as it relates to the Budget.
**There were none** Public Hearing portion was hereby closed and the forum moved on to #VIII.
VIII. The Introduction of Ordinance 2017-09 ( An Ordinance Adopting the Towns’ Fiscal Expenditures the Fiscal Year 2017, 2018)
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised this would be printed in the Town’s Official Journal on next Thursday.
Alderperson Leola Keys- inquired if when they return for the adoption would they be looking at this?
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised if there are no other adjustments, they would be looking at the budget now before them.
Alderperson Janice Fleming- inquired, so if we want to add or delete we can?
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised, if there is a line item we need to discuss, this is the time to do so.
Alderperson Leola Keys- inquired, if we want to add or discuss the time is when?
Mayor Gerald Brown – advised, this is the proper time to do so, now you can make an amendment to the budget at any time, but those must be done by ordinance, this is the preparation time of the budget.
Alderperson Leola Keys – stated she was looking at that restitution payment and what was that saying?
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised, what is saying is that it was in our last budget as a line item, in this particular budget we have no allocation for it because it is currently not being paid; now at our last meeting our attorney stated he would file for a motion for it, so at our regular meeting, this month or next month we will obtain more information in regards to that.
Public Attendee (Ms. Blackmon) -commented that he had paid all of that.
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised not in its entirety.
Public Attendee (Ms. Blackmon) – commented, and he still walking round in Richwood?
Mayor Gerald Brown- stated yes, his probation has been waived, and basically the Board did a resolution, but that happened last summer so that has basically gone by.
Public Attendee (Ms. Blackmon) – stated she didn’t care when it happened, the court ordered him to pay that restitution, and we can contact his probation officer.
Mayor Gerald Brown- stated, the court system has indicated they are not going to collect it anymore, and the Legislative Auditors have advised we must make an attempt to collect what is owed, and that is what Jay ( the Town’s Attorney) is doing.
Alderperson Leola Keys- commented we do anticipate hiring a new officer.
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised (2) two of the (8) listed public workers are seasonal and part-time, and dependent on what “Mother Nature” does will determine how long that will continue.
Alderperson Leola Keys- questioned, Mr. Jackson indicating there was a Public Works Director.
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised the Director is a department head, and in order to have a department head, there are two things which have to happen; the first thing would be as Mayor he has to recommend that the department be aligned that way, and secondly the Board has to submit an ordinance saying that is how its’ going to be; that’s based on Attorney Generals’ Opinion 07-261 that talks about the department heads, and if you looking for it in the Lawrason Act, it’s under the Mayor’s Responsibility and the Board’s Responsibility.
There is a position under our governmental affairs, and I want ya’ll to look at, I feel it will give us a lot of lift and that position is Public Relations, Marketing and Recreation. It is in the employee manual, so I am not making up anything, but I do feel it will give us a lot of lift, be able to talk to the media. That person would also deal with recreation, where we can do some things.
Alderperson Janice Fleming- asked if there was money in the budget for this.
Mayor Gerald Brown- indicated yes, look under general government, we would start the person out about $19,000 or $20,000 dollars.
Mayor Gerald Brown- asked if there were any other questions concerning the budget?
Board answered – No
Mayor Gerald Brown- called for a motion to adjourn.
* It was motioned by Alderperson Donald Richard and seconded by Alderperson Janice Fleming to adjourn the meeting at 11:40 a.m.