Parish council streamlines procurement

Wade McIntyre

The Parish Council during a regular meeting Thursday approved an administration proposal members said would improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government.

The proposal is designed to speed up procurement and carrying out of contractual documents by authorizing the Parish President to enter into professional contracts of $50,000 or less without council approval.

Funds must be available and appropriated in the current adopted budget, and contracts taken on by the president have to be reported to the Finance Committee monthly.

In an unrelated matter, the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center reported seven accounts over 90 days late in making a total of $110,220 in payments.

The Louisiana National Guard owes the center $40,728 and the Office of Emergency Preparedness $39,211 for use of the facility during Hurricane Gustav. Guaranty Broadcasting owes $4,657 from a May 8, 2008 invoice, and the Ascension Parish YMCA owes $18,000 for the months of July, August, September October 2008, according to information distributed by Eddie Crawford, general manager of SMG.

Other delinquent accounts include the Brahman Association, the Celtic Society and Mockler Distributing, according to the expo center monthly report.

The parish contract with Lamar-Dixon ends on June 30.

The council also adopted an ordinance which defines a reimbursement policy for the council as pertains to business conducted outside the parish.

Under the ordinance per diems will not exceed $75 and are to be substantiated with receipts.

Normally, two days will be allowed for conferences, unless special permission is granted for more per diem time.

The ordinance also allows councilmen who chose to drive rather than fly out of town to be reimbursed only for the amount of time that would have been paid if the council member had made the trip by flying. Tourist airfare is required by the ordinance, and travel made by more expensive means of travel will be reimbursed at the most economical rate.

Under the ordinance, specifically authorized special expenses by council members may be granted with substantiated receipts.

Prior to the council’s adoption of an ordinance prohibiting animal sales in the parish, Keith Bryant, manager of the flea market in Prairieville, addressed the council in the public comment session, and asked “What is the problem with selling animals at the flea market?”

Council Chairman Pat Bell refused to answer the question, saying that the public comment period was not a question and answer session.

The council then adopted the ordinance without comment.