Residents report door-to-door frozen-meat peddlers
OPELOUSAS — Prompted by concerns from residents about door-to-door salesmen peddling frozen meat, the St. Landry Parish Council passed a resolution Wednesday night reiterating the parish policy of denying business permits to applicants who fail to obtain state licenses or pay required licensing fees.
Parish attorney Lance Pitre said the parish already has adopted policies that require individuals doing business to obtain proper business operating permits from the state before they request operational licenses in St. Landry.
“All we are doing is re-emphasizing the policy (the parish) already has in place,” Pitre said. “We just want to remind everyone about the requirements for obtaining permits for doing business.”
Councilman Timothy LeJeune said in an interview that some members of the council were contacted by individuals who had been approached recently by door-to-door salesmen peddling frozen meat.
“The people who contacted some of us said these individuals selling the meat did not have occupational licenses. There is also a question about the possible criminal record for one of the persons selling the meat,” LeJeune said.
In a separate matter Wednesday, LeJeune questioned the increased expenditures at the parish animal shelter.
Parish chief administrative officer Jessie Bellard said the parish spent an additional $125,000 in 2014 on construction and maintenance at the animal shelter.
Overall the parish has spent about $280,000 at the animal shelter during the first six months of 2014, he said.
LeJeune said he is concerned about possible overspending at the animal shelter when there is no parishwide mosquito control program.
The animal shelter is funded by a Health Unit Tax. Bellard said the parish also receives about $5,000 annually in animal adoption fees and donations for the animal shelter.
Parish President Bill Fontenot also told the council that he has been negotiating with Iberia Parish resident Pernell Livingston to lease 20 acres of property at $500 per year near Eunice to house abandoned and abused horses picked up by animal control.
Council member Alvin Stelly questioned the proposed lease, saying the horses could be sold at livestock auctions instead.
The council will take up the proposed lease at a meeting scheduled later this month.
In another matter Wednesday, Steven Moosa, representing the accounting firm of Darnall, Sikes, Gardes and Frederick, presented findings of an audit of parish government for the fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2013.
According to the report, the parish general fund received $17 million in revenues during 2013, more than the $14.3 million for 2012.
The report also says the parish spent $18.8 million from the general fund in 2013, compared with $14.73 million in 2012.
Although the 2013 general fund showed a deficit of $1.76 million in revenues over expenditures, the report says the parish began the fiscal year in Jan. 1 with a $6.82 million fund balance from prior years.
The audit also notes that parish received $2.2 million in video poker revenue during 2013, although slot machine revenues from Evangeline Downs Racetrack and Racino were down by 7.5 percent.