Town of Richwood: August 16, 2018 Minutes

Regular Meeting Minutes
Thursday, August 16, 2018
7:00 P.M.
Members In Attendance At Time of Roll Call:
Alderperson Simeon Profit
Alderperson Janice Fleming
Alderperson Leola Keys
Arrived After Roll Call: Alderperson Donald Richard @ 7:24 p.m.
Absent: Alderperson Wysinger Cleveland

The Town of Richwood met for a Regular Meeting held August 16, 2018 at 7:03 p.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 7:05 p.m.
II. Prayer- was offered by Alderperson Simeon Profit
III. Pledge of Allegiance – recited in unison
IV. Roll Call- Mayor Gerald Brown called roll with the following results:

* The record shall reflect (3) Alderpersons present at roll call as listed below. Alderperson Simeon Profit Alderperson Janice Fleming Alderperson Leola Keys

V. Adoption of the Agenda-

Mayor Gerald Brown- requested a motion to adopt the agenda with the following results

It was motioned by Alderperson Janice Fleming and seconded by Alderperson Simeon Profit to adopt the agenda as presented.

* The record shall reflect a vote was taken with the following results: All (3) Alderpersons voted Yes to adopt the agenda as presented.
Alderperson Simeon Profit Yes Alderperson Janice Fleming Yes Alderperson Leola Keys Yes
VI. Adoption of July 19, 2018, July 26, 2018 Minutes:
It was motioned by Alderperson Janice Fleming and seconded by Alderperson Simeon Profit to adopt the July 19, 2018, and July 26, 2018 minutes as presented.
* The record shall reflect a vote was taken with the following results: All (3) Alderpersons present voted Yes to adopt the July 19, 2018 and July 26, 2018 minutes as presented.

Alderperson Simeon Profit Yes Alderperson Janice Fleming Yes Alderperson Leola Keys Yes
VII. Adoption of Financial Statements:

It was then moved by Alderperson Janice Fleming and seconded by Alderperson Simeon Profit to adopt tonight’s Financial Report.

* The record shall reflect a vote was taken with the following results: All (3) Alderpersons voted Yes to adopt the Financial Reports.

Alderperson Simeon Profit Yes Alderperson Janice Fleming Yes Alderperson Leola Keys Yes
VIII. Public Comments as They Relate to Items on the Agenda
*** No Comments ***
IX. Mr. Eric Bowie- introduced himself and addressed the forum, stating he is running for a seat on the Ouachita Parish School Board, he has a passion for children and wants to make sure our children have the same opportunities as all children in the parish to receive a quality education.
Alderperson Leola Keys- requested one or two comments concerning his plan for our children.
Mr. Eric Bowie- stated , his platform is “Quality for Our Children” and there are some things that you may or may not know, there is more teachers Board certified in this area, than they are in the rest of the parish, and also there are children which he has spoken to principals in this area, and they are saying our children are 2 years behind than every other child in other parts of the parish. Our children need a voice someone that will stand up and ask why is it that there are not enough certified teachers here and other parts of the parish.
Mayor Gerald Brown – stated, “he wanted to thank Mr. Bowie for coming out tonight to introduce himself and present his platform and good luck to him.”
X. Representative Marcus Hunter – addressed the forum and introduced himself
(Representative Hunter was not present at the time of this item call to the floor, it was then motioned by Alderperson Janice Fleming and seconded by Alderperson Simeon Profit to table item at this time.)

XI. Adoption of Ordinance 2018-03 (An Ordinance adopting the Town’s Expenditures for the Fiscal Year Beginning July 1, 2018 and ending June 30, 2019)
It was motioned by Alderperson Janice Fleming and seconded by Alderperson Simeon Profit to adopt Ordinance 2018-03
* The record shall reflect a vote was taken with the following results: All (3) Alderpersons voted Yes to adopt Ordinance 2018-03

Alderperson Simeon Profit Yes Alderperson Janice Fleming Yes Alderperson Leola Keys Yes

XII. Attorney Josh Leonard (Boles, Shafto & Leonard, LLC.)
Mayor Gerald Brown- introduced Attorney Leonard and advised the forum he was here to discuss our tax renewal.
Attorney Josh Leonard- advised the forum this is a renewal of the previous millage tax which was a 20 mills tax in-acted 10 years ago; and at this time, it is being presented as 20.69 mills, which is an increase of .69 mills, and the reason for that look on page 2 of the resolution, and you will see the estimated dollar amount. Every four years property taxes are reassessed and if the values go down the millage automatically adjusts to that dollar amount, so that is all this is., the property tax hasn’t changed, nor homestead exemptions.
Ms. Elonda Potter- inquired if they were saying there is going to be a new tax implemented?
Attorney Josh Leonard- advised this is an existing tax which has been collected since 2008 and is renewed every 10 years. The only thing is it is going up a little bit to .69. But this is not an increase of your property taxes.
Alderperson Simeon Profit- advised this is the same thing, but two different things, the property tax is different from the millage assessment, and will not raise your property taxes.
(It was discussed as to the tax assessor assess the value of property for property taxes)

Mayor Gerald Brown- commented to the forum, to clarify what the letter is talking about is, the mills themselves basically what we have is the option to take it to 20.69, and the reason we have that option, is so we can continue to collect the same amount of money we collected before, and the reason for that is there has been a slight dip in the property values as they have been assessed, but we can choose to stay at 20 mills, which we have chosen to do.
Public Attendee Ms. Elonda Potter- inquired if this has the ability to go up?
Mayor Gerald Brown – advised, this resolution locks us in for 10 years, and if we don’t put this clause in, then we are stuck at this point for 10 years.
Public Attendee Ms. Elonda Potter- inquired how is the public advised if this change?
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised, they must hold a public meeting, and the Board would have to vote on it, if something like that took place.
Public Attendee Mrs. Linda Clark- inquired why recreation is not shown on the property tax bill, but police are the only thing on the bill?
Mayor Gerald Brown- inquired if this was the paper or online bill?
Mrs. Linda Clark- confirmed, it was her paper bill.
Alderperson Leola Keys- commented, when you receive a tax notice showing taxes assessed, this information showing Police & Recreation on the bill, beginning from 2013 on up, has not been on the bill showing credit of the taxes collected for both Police & Recreation, and that she had brought her bills to show the Mayor.
Alderperson Leola Keys- stated that she had spoken with citizens and recommended they vote for the tax, but they are wanting it to show on their bill it is for Police & Recreation.
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised he would check with the Parish on this.
Mr. John Godfrey (Public Attendee)- inquired if the taxes collected are specifically for these two items or if the Town was spending the monies wherever they wanted?
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised, the funds are for both police and recreation and yes there are monies that have been budgeted in the new budget to hire another police officer.

XIII. Adoption of Resolution 2018-10 (A Resolution ordering and calling a Special Election to Authorize the Continuation of the Levy and Collection of Special Taxes; Making Application to The State Bond Commission and Providing for other Matters in Connection Therewith)

** Alderperson Donald Richard arrived 7:24 p.m. **
It was motioned by Alderperson Janice Fleming and seconded by Alderperson Simeon Profit to adopt Resolution 2018-10.
* The Record shall reflect a vote was taken with the following results: All (4) Alderpersons present voted Yes to Adopt Resolution 2018-10

Alderperson Simeon Profit Yes Alderperson Donald Richard Yes Alderperson Janice Fleming Yes Alderperson Leola Keys Yes

* Alderperson Leola Keys- voted yes with the stipulation that Mayor Brown look into Police & Recreation be specified on the tax bill.

XIV. Mr. Rufus Ward
(Mr. Ward with the Board’s consent relinquished the floor at this time to Representative Marcus Hunter)

** Representative Marcus Hunter- introduced himself and advised he was providing some legislative updates, somethings they have done since he has been in Baton Rouge.
Representative Hunter- advised initially in 2011 we got you all the first set of cop cars through some things we did, and I see there is some upgraded vehicles which are a good thing, but of course listening to what had been said, we may have to look into the parish or the state, and he and Mayor Brown had discussed previously the use of pooling resources with other law enforcement districts. When they do upgrades, and they get rid of their 2016 cars they either donate them and get a tax write-off. Some are gently used, and some have been ridden pretty hard, and you may can go and pick out vehicles that would work for you.
Representative Marcus Hunter- advised, to date we have put in place a little bit before I was elected or since I was elected a little bit over $ 200,000 toward this complex, and also holding open elections, anyone moving from this area or other areas, can use this money, I believe up to $5,000 for voting progress, law enforcement, blight crime, and that is one way you can pool and use resources.
(The Parish Road Program)- before 2011 before he was elected, the Police Juror would decide how much Richwood would get for roads, but now we have it whereas the Richwood area gets about 10% of the Parish money for road improvements, but it is a process by application and the Secretary of Transportation and Development takes care of making sure that all that is done.
OIC- since 2014, I have been elected receives $ 405,000 and they also get another $5,000 annually for regional training and other services, which include SYM.
The Last thing is the Highway- as part of you voting for taxes and revenue, I was able to secure with the Governor a highway lighting project that is estimated about $5,000,000. It would be from Richwood High School to Highway 15. It would provide for a well-lit area beginning a little above Charmingdale all the way to HWY 15, and that is part of your capital outlay budget.
In terms of funding you must come to these meetings and request that projects you want to be included in the capital outlay request.
XV. Southern’s Youth Movement (Not Present) ** Agenda proceeded**

**Mayor Gerald Brown- again called Mr. Rufus Ward to the Floor. **
Mr. Rufus Ward- addressed the forum and talked about the community coming together and advised we can do anything if we work together and re-establishing the Citizen’s Advisory Committee.
Mr. Rufus Ward- stated we need to do some cleaning up in the Town, and if we start doing for ourselves, and putting up some matching funds, then we can get some help.
Mayor Gerald Brown- advised, there will be a signup sheet at the Town for what he is calling the Citizen’s Advisory Board, and any resident of the Town of Richwood can sign up for that board.
Mr. Nathan Brown (Public Attendee)- commented that we must work together, and although we are small in number, together we can make a big noise. We are not their bosses and we must support the people we have voted in and get together and be willing to change, although he was 66 years old, he is not too old to change. We must get together support the people we have voted in and work to accomplish change.

XVI. Mr. Michael Castor
Mr. Castor – addressed the forum and asked,” Why do I have to pay the aldermen to do business in Richwood or help Richwood?
Can anyone answer that please?
Why do your Alderman call me and tell me, they are tired of me trying to help Richwood, because they are not getting paid?
Mr. Michael Castor – stated, Cleveland called me on the 30th about 8:45 p.m. he said him, and Mrs. Keys were there, and they want me to stop doing what I’m doing in Richwood, until I start paying them, that’s what I’m not going to do… I know she (Alderperson Keys) wasn’t there. Your aldermen do not have the right to threaten me, anybody trying to help your town is not going to do that with this.
Alderperson Janice Fleming- advised she had no knowledge of this and will not allow her character to be maligned, and Mr. Castor was speaking of one individual and not the entire Board.
Alderperson Leola Keys- stated, she and the Board does appreciate the service he has brought to this town.
Mayor Gerald Brown- stated that he needs a vote to go into executive session.
XVII. Executive Session

* It was motioned by Alderperson Donald Richard and seconded by Alderperson Janice Fleming to go into Executive Session @ 7:48 p.m.
* It was motioned by Alderperson Donald Richard and seconded by Alderperson Janice Fleming to close executive session @ 8:38 p.m.

XVIII. Adjournment It was motioned by Alderperson Donald Richard and seconded by Alderperson Janice Fleming to enter back into Regular Session @ 8:39 p.m.

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