Council Approves Fire Dept. Promotion, Multiple Agenda Items
Written by Mark Chreene on March 3, 2020
After several months of contentious meetings, the March Minden City Council was a normal meeting for the most part. The only contentious moments concerned the adding of an item to the agenda. Prior to the start of the regular agenda, Mayor Terry Gardner requested that an item be added to approve a Police Department hire of Jason Scott Lee, II. A motion was made by Councilman Keith Beard and seconded by Councilwoman Pam Bloxom. However, the item failed to be placed on the agenda by a 4-1 vote with Councilman Herbert Taylor the lone no vote; a unanimous vote is required to add an item to the agenda. The council also tabled the adoption of minutes from the February meeting and the February 11th special meeting. Councilman Vincen Bradford had objections over the lack of City Attorney Charles Minifield’s comments not posted in the regular meeting minutes and Councilwoman Terika Walker had objections over the last vote taken regarding the employee manual in the special session. Taylor made the motion to table, seconded by Walker and the vote was 5-0 to table to the April meeting, with corrections.
An awards presentation for the Mardi Gras parade was held at Monday’s meeting. The winners were:
- Most Original/Creative Entry: Krewe of Nemesis
- Best Marching Group: Ladies of Elegance
- Best Small Float: Pine Grove United Methodist Church
- Most Spirited Group: Krewe des Ambassadeurs
- Sweepstakes Winner (Best Overall): Krewe des Ambassadeurs
The council also approved a Fire Department promotion, promoting John Thompson to Assistant Fire Chief, replacing John Tucker who retired after 39 years. Thompson has served on the department for 34 years. The council also approved several other items on the agenda:
- A final plat for lot split of property belonging to Anti-Pest and Veitch, Inc. at Germantown road, one-quarter mile south of Country Club Circle.
- Ordinance 1108, Annexing property in to the Minden city limits belonging to Reynolds Industrial Contractors, Inc, dba Catamaran Solutions located on the old Shreveport Road.
- Budget amendment of $500,000 for the FAA Grant for the Minden Airport.
- Approved the authorization of bids for the 2019-20 Street Improvements project, to overlay Fincher Road, Horton Street (Shreveport Road to Middle Landing) and Pine Street (Gleason Street to Goodwill Street).
- Authorized Mayor to obtain cost estimate for a possible street overlay project on Country Club and Longleaf Drive.
- Approved City Clerk to advertise for bids for the Minden Airport Runway and Airfield Lighting Rehabilitation Project.
The Council then heard from City Clerk, Michael Fluhr, who reported that the sales tax for January was up over the previous year at $472,000. Fluhr stated that the number was down from December, which was $599,000 but up from last January’s amount of $445,000. Fluhr also reported that total cash for the City was $17.8 million up from $17.7 in December. Of that amount, $8.4 million is available for spending, the other is in city investments, utilities, and savings. Fluhr said that the annual audit is underway and he is expecting a preliminary report in about two weeks. One of the newer items that the city has to report in the audit is “unfunded liabilities,” which explained by Fluhr, is the amount of money the city would be out if every employee retired at that moment. Fluhr reported that amount is currently $10.7 million. Fluhr stated that employee and employer costs would be going up for retirement funding and said in the closing of his report for the council to be mindful of the money required to fund city employees’ retirement funds when planning future budgets. [See Audio Clip Below]
Minden Chief of Police, Steve Cropper gave his monthly report for February. He reported 90 arrests, 118 incidents, 657 calls for service, 141 citations, 96 warrants, 74 warrants served, and 36 vehicle crash reports.
Cropper also said that the Census would be starting up in April and that there will be door to door census takers around the city. Cropper said that they should be easily identifiable, but if there were any questions of their validity, to call the police for verification.
During Council Comments, Pam Bloxom thanked John Tucker for his service as Assistant Fire Chief. Mayor Terry Gardner mentioned that he was happy with the start of the year in regards to the positive numbers with the sales tax and also congratulated John Thompson on his promotion to Assistant Fire Chief. Gardner also thanked all who were part of the formulating of the Alcohol permit paperwork as well as laws governing the sale of alcohol. Councilman Keith Beard, during his comments, simply had a question for fellow Councilman Herbert Taylor about his no vote at the beginning of the meeting not to add the new police hire to the agenda. Taylor’s reply was that there had been times when the council failed to add items to the agenda that he had asked to have added. When Beard expressed his disappointment about not hiring the officer, Taylor replied, “I didn’t say we wasn’t going to hire the young man, I just wasn’t going to add it to the agenda.” [See Audio Clip Below]
After the meeting was adjourned, Councilman Keith Beard came to Councilman Herbert Taylor to tell him that he was sorry for putting him on the spot during Beard’s council comments. Taylor, who had just gotten out of his seat, located directly in front of the media table, said firmly to Beard, “Don’t talk sh*t to me.” [Quote] The two then went their separate ways with no incident, but there is definitely still animosity among members of the City Council.
The next regular scheduled meeting for the Minden City Council is set for Monday, April 6th at 5:30 pm.