Sales tax receipts for the Concordia Parish Police Jury were down $47,000 -- 23 percent – for March 2020, according to a report provided by Jury Secretary-Treasurer Sandi Burley.
The Jury collected $213,181.63 in sales taxes in March 2019, compared to $166,143.82 in March 2020.
The losses are attributed to the Covid-19 pandemic, which has shutdown businesses and curtailed government operations nationally.
For the first quarter of 2020, sales tax collections for the Jury are down $164,661.15, with January 2020 receipts falling almost $100,000 below January 2019 income.
During the first quarter of 2019, sales tax collections totaled $724,599.83, including $336,355.52 (January), $175,062.68 (February) and $213,181.63 (March).
Collections for the first quarter of 2020 totaled $560,388.69, including $226,613.97 (January), $167,630.89 (February) and $166,143.83 (March).
Liquor license tax collections for March 2020 were up $13,747.36 from the previous year -- $47,372.29 in March 2020 compared to $33,624.93 in March 2019.
Meanwhile, the Jury’s costs are down for criminal court due to the Covid-19 pandemic. District Attorney Brad Burget postponed two murder trials because of the virus threat, an issue that has affected every public body in the parish.
“The delays in court will put a strain on every judicial district in the state,” Burget said in March. “Louisiana funding system for criminal justice includes fines, forfeitures and costs from criminal cases to defray the costs on local parish government. When those funds are not coming in, it will cause a financial strain to local government.”
Concerning the Witness and Juror Fund, Burley noted “this is a schedule we watch closely when there are several jury trials. Since there are no judicial proceedings at this time, there should be minimal costs to the fund.”
Additionally, Burley reported that Criminal Court “receipts are lower than projected due to the lack of judicial proceedings being conducted. Staff is still being paid as usual. The concern is that due to reduced receipts of fines and bonds that ultimately the General Fund will have to make a transfer to the Criminal Court Fund to offset any deficit.”
Two causes of concern were reported for the Highway Fund, including “the reduction in funding received last year versus years prior from the Parish Transportation Fund. Secondly, the abundance of materials purchased and continually needed to repair the roads.”
The Drainage Fund, funded by ad valorem taxes, is “over budget for first quarter. Also of concern are the additional requests for culvert replacement across the parish as brought forward by the Superintendent. This will be monitored for changes in allocations to accommodate the demand.”
The Personnel Committee, composed of Probst, Adams and Genesia Allen, recommended that the Jury conduct an audit of service equipment at the maintenance barn for eventual sale as surplus or scrap metal to be sold when metal prices are higher.
The committee also recommended that a white board listing upcoming work orders at the barn be prepared and information added to a spreadsheet for jurors.
Additionally, the committee recommended that an evaluation of all personnel at the barn is needed.
The committee also agreed to pay comp time instead of overtime for call outs during bad weather and for additional work performed on Fridays when the maintenance unit is typically closed.
The full Jury has not yet considered these matters.
Additionally, at Monday’s meeting, the Jury agreed to promote a laborer to light equipment and begin his 60-day evaluation period.
In other action, the Jury:
Adopted a resolution authorizing Rostran Solutions LLC to prepare and submit a pre-application for funding through the Statewide Flood Control Program. The program provides documentation of flood damage and related matters on behalf of the Jury.
Received quotes for engineering services for parish roads were received from Bryant Hammett & Associates, Meyer, Meyer, LaCroix ^Hixon, H. Davis Cole, Shuller Consulting Company, Jordan, Kaiser & Sessions, and Denmon Engineering.
Agreed to seek bids to clean the Odell Bowman lot on Freeman Road.
Voted to pay Rostan Solutions $7,921.25 for work related to a disaster recovery FEMA grant to repair roads damaged by seepage water last year.
Approved an occupational license for Z&M’s Snack and Go, Veronica Dixon, 102 Woodmont Rd., Ferriday.