AMITE — The Tangipahoa Parish Council on Monday unanimously tabled a proposed ordinance that would have spelled out how a reserve fund, separate from the parish’s other financial holdings, was to be established.
The move came after Parish President Gordon Burgess said he had vetoed a measure passed at the council’s meeting on Aug. 26. That ordinance instructed Burgess’s office to transfer to a separate account, within 10 days, $395,424 in emergency fund money that has long been held in the parish’s general fund.
The ordinance said each year either 25 percent of the overage of general fund sales tax revenue, compared with the prior year’s, or $50,000, whichever amount was greater, be placed in the reserve fund.
Parish auditor Lee Gray and Director of Finances Jeff McKneely, said the ordinance as introduced did not answer some questions about the reserve fund. Specifically, McKneely said his office does not have the final sales tax figures for December of one calendar year until about March of the next year so it would be impossible to determine if any overage in sales tax collections was available before the fiscal year expired on Dec. 31. The original ordinance also did not state where interest accrued on the money was to be deposited.
“I am not opposed to setting up the reserve fund the way you want it, but we need to clean this up and get it right when you pass an ordinance about the reserve fund,” Burgess said.
At the Aug. 26 meeting, Gray said $916,997 had accrued in the fund since its inception in 1999 but that about $600,000 had been spent on emergencies associated with hurricanes Isaac and Gustav.
In other action :
ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OPINION: The council agreed to seek an opinion from the state Attorney General’s Office on whether utility companies and cable television providers can “expropriate” privately owned land beyond the limits of rights of way spelled out by the parish and state. Donald Marshall, who lives in the Bedico area, said Charter Communications installed lines on his property beyond what he thought was the utility severance and damaged it.
WATER COMPANY EXPANSION: The council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing Tangipahoa Water District to proceed with the sale of bonds not to exceed $7.175 million. Proceeds will be used to upgrade and expand the water district, which serves the whole parish. The 30-year bonds are to be repaid with profits earned by the company, which serves about 18,000 customers.