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October Minden City Council Meeting

by Minden Press-Herald

All in all, the October city council meeting was a brief affair, with the main takeaways from the meeting being that the city is starting the process of applying for grants to fund street overlay projects as well as an odd bureaucratic kerfuffle surrounding employees within the Minden Police Department and whether they are in the City of Minden’s retirement system or the police’s retirement system. 

As stated, the council voted unanimously on a handful of items that, if awarded, would grant Minden $1.6 million in funding to put toward much needed street overlays. “The series of things that we’re going to do here has to do with an application for a Louisiana Community Development Block Grant. This will be street overlays for next year, but we have to go ahead and start doing the process,” said Mayor Tommy Davis. “We’re applying for 1.6 million to do street overlays.”

The next item of note didn’t have to do with street overlays, but had to do with acquiring funding for the city to use for improvement projects on Victory Park. The grant would net the city a total of $100,000, some of which, Davis stated, would go toward new attractions like pickleball courts. 

After the agenda items were taken care of, the meeting went on to the monthly financial report from acting City Clerk Michael Fluhr. The city has seen a steady income from sales tax with little variance from the figure of last month and, when comparing it to the figures from last year, has actually increased quite a significant degree. 

For the month of September the City of Minden collected $619,074 with the month of August seeing a collection of $620,630. The previous year’s figure for August’s sales tax collection was $569,250, roughly $50,000 less than this year’s. 

“According to the Webster Parish Sales Tax Commission, the increase we’re seeing is from retailers and online purchases,” said Fluhr. 

At the end of their report, Fluhr enlightened the council about an odd hiccup that they are experiencing while trying to sort out a situation regarding two employees and which retirement system they should be paying into.

“The chief has hired a full-time dispatcher and also a secretary, and now we’ve been told that these employees need to be reported to the police retirement system. Even though they are not civil service employees, everyone who works for the police department, civil service or not, has to go into the police retirement plan, which means roughly 2% more for the city on retirement contribution,” said Fluhr.

What adds to this oddity is the fact that Minden Police Chief Steve Cropper, while having been with the department for roughly twelve years now, actually will be receiving retirement from the City of Minden’s retirement system, not the police’s. 

“What’s confusing is, when I turned my paperwork in, I assumed I would fall in under the Police Retirement System but, due to my length of time here, I’m going through the city,” said Chief Cropper. 

While trying to gain a better understanding of the matter, Fluhr contacted the Office of the Attorney General, but they were unable to provide an opinion on the present situation or a similar one in the past. 

It seems that which system an employee is covered under has to do with the amount of years they’ve been employed, but they are waiting to get a full determination from the attorney general.

The Minden City Council meeting is held on the first Monday of each month starting at 5:30 p.m. and is open for the public to attend. For those who can’t attend in person or who wish to watch it afterward, the City of Minden streams the meetings live on Facebook and their YouTube channel titled, City of Minden – Feels Like Home.

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