Pointe Coupee jury wants to renegotiate agreement

The Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury decided Tuesday to give the city of New Roads six months’ formal notice the parish wants to renegotiate its current contract with the city for the operation of the Scott Civic Center.

Juror Janet Vosburg urged the Police Jury to take action during the jury’s regular meeting Tuesday night because she said certain stipulations in the parish’s two-year agreement with New Roads were too vague, had changed or needed revision.

One of Vosburg’s suggested amendments is for the parish to cease allocating approximately $30,000 in annual sales tax revenue toward the civic center and instead funnel it back into the parish’s recreation account.

“We ran it without the extra sales tax money,” Vosburg said. “We are on a bare bones budget.”

Parish Administrator Jim Bello interjected the parish should opt out of the agreement immediately because the city hasn’t been fulfilling its obligations.

In the two-year agreement, signed by officials on April 12, 2012, the parish handed off oversight of the day-to-day operations of the Scott Civic Center to New Roads.

The parish had been overseeing the recreational facility for 17 years, Jury President Melanie Bueche said Tuesday night.

According to the contract, both parties agreed to establish a five-member commission — composed of two jurors, two New Roads city councilmen and an ex-officio chairman — charged with governing the management of the facility.

Jurors Cornell Dukes and Vosburg currently serve as the parish’s representatives on the commission. The agreement designates New Roads Mayor Robert Myer as the commission’s chairman.

According to the contract, the parish agreed to contribute a certain amount toward the Civic Center’s annual budget and the commission was required to make a partial contribution toward the salary of the parish’s assistant recreation director. Vosburg and Dukes both said Tuesday night the city has shut them out of the day-to-day operations of the center.

Vosburg said the city has locked parish employees out of the facility, preventing their access to the parish’s supply closet inside.

“I think the mayor will say the parish’s recreation employees can use the building as long as they follow certain protocols,” she said. “I don’t mind them having to sign for a key but this matter just never came before the commission.”

Bello said the city isn’t paying its share as spelled out in the agreement and “jurors are being ignored and not getting any input” into the facility’s management.

“Why can’t we let them know we want to renegotiate immediately?” Bellow said.

Parish officials reminded Bello the contract states either party must give six months written notice to amend the contract.

Jurors agreed Tuesday to hire a lawyer to represent the parish in talks with city officials on renegotiating the agreement.

Jurors Justin Cox and Albert Dukes, who both voted in opposition of the jury’s action Tuesday night, asked the jury to consider an informal meeting with Myer first before proceeding forward.