The monthly City Council meeting took place Monday evening at Minden City Hall. One of the first items on the agenda was that of the new police department hire Reece Tewell. He was recommended by Minden Police Chief Steve Cropper and when brought to a vote, the motion passed unanimously.
This was followed up by the promotion of three of the Police Departments’ current officers to the rank of Lieutenant, those being Sergeants Joel Kendrick, Kenneth James, and Christopher McClaran. They all have passed the Fire and Police Civil Service Board, Police Lieutenant examination test and due to this, Cropper recommends their promotion.
This motion passed unanimously as well, and Mayor Terry Gardner said, “We appreciate the years of service that you have given our police department. We encourage you to continue the job that y’all have done and we hope for y’all to spend many more years with us.”
The Council also voted unanimously to appoint Tateshia Tellis, replacing Latasha Dent, and Pamela Penton, replacing Dr. Gary Daniel, to the Minden Housing Authority Board.
Ordinance No. 1104, an ordinance that will “Levy Taxes of 5.63 Mills as General Alimony Tax on all Taxable Property located in the City of Minden, Louisiana for the year 2019. The Taxable Properties designated as a part of the Minden Downtown Development District will be assessed with an additional 2.04 Mills, making a total of 7.67 Mills on those properties located in said district,” was also passed during this meeting. Note that this is simply a renewal, and after concerns were raised by some citizens in attendance, Gardner said “No increase, it’s the exact same millage. No new taxes.”
Plans for an appraisal of Griffith Stadium brought a bit of conflict to the meeting. When the motion was brought to a vote, the votes were split, and Councilman Herbert Taylor brought the motion back to discussion. “If the sale of Griffith Stadium were to happen, then where would the money go to?” After some discussion, City Attorney Charles Minnifield explained, “The sale and lease of city property follows the same format. It needs to have someone appraise the value of the property because it’s not necessarily going to be sold to a private person. That’s your bidding start. We’re way downstream when we should be at the beginning.”
After some more discussion, Taylor voted in favor of the motion along with Councilmen Pam Bloxom and Keith Beard, which gave it enough votes to pass.
Near the end of the meeting, City Clerk Michael Fluhr brought the council, Mayor, and citizens up to date on the city’s finances. “It’s clear that we are not selling as much water as we did in the past, and we are not selling as much electricity. We have to see what the next billing will bring on the utility side, but I am very confident that we have to amend to budget at the end of the year. What was very disappointing was the sales tax figure. The figure, we all expected a little bit more than it really is. Collections for the month of June, $461,00 dollars. The bad thing is a month ago it was $488,000, and a year ago it was $591,000. I don’t think in all honesty we’re going to recover that amount,” said Fluhr.
According to Cyndy Herrington, Administrator of the Webster Parish Sales & Use Tax Commission, “The decrease is for the same reason as previous months, oil/gas field businesses, construction, and retail paid more last year than this year.”
Fluhr also notified the public that Minden’s budget will be available for public viewing starting August 13. There will only be one copy in the Mayor’s Office, but the public is welcome to view it if they so choose.
The City Council Meeting takes place on the first Monday of each month at 5 p.m. The meeting is held at the Minden City Hall and the public is free to attend.