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Ouachita Parish Police Jury Vice President Jack Clampit says police jurors should consider moving costs before it relocates from the Ouachita Parish Courthouse a block away to the Ouachita Parish School Board’s Central Office.

“We’re in the fourth quarter if we’re going to move into the OPSB building,” Clampit said. “We need to talk about who we’re going to move, who’s going to stay here.”

Clampit offered those remarks earlier this week during the Police Jury’s regular meeting.

In October, the School Board accepted the Police Jury’s $1.2-million offer to buy three school buildings in downtown Monroe. The three buildings were appraised for a combined value of $1,198,000.

The School Board is currently in the process of renovating the Ouachita Parish Alternative Center on North 7th Street in West Monroe, where the School Board plans to relocate its Central Office and other administrative offices.

According to Clampit, the Police Jury could begin its relocation in January. If the Police Jury does not consider moving costs or repair costs as part of its current budgeting process, it could face unforeseen costs, according to Clampit.

On another front, the Police Jury amended the 2020 budget for the Ouachita Parish Animal Shelter to approve the purchase of a $40,000 truck to carry rescue animals. The Police Jury approved the expenditure during a finance committee meeting following its regular meeting.

The shelter’s director, Stephanie Mullins, said the vehicle purchase was the shelter’s only major expenditure planned for 2020.

When asked about the shelter’s intake of animals, Mullins said, “We’re a little higher than what we were last year.”

Police Juror Scotty Robinson pointed out the animal shelter’s intake was lower now than it was 10 years ago.

“We’re rescuing 10 times as many as we used to,” said parish treasurer Brad Cammack, commending Mullins for all the improvements to the shelter’s operations since Mullins became the director.

According to parish officials, animal control officers bring in about 100 to 150 animals each month, but the number of animals surrendered by the public is nearly double that figure.

“We adopt about the same number that we take in through animal control,” Caldwell said. “It’s the surrenders that kill us.”

During a brief discussion of the Police Jury’s prior commitment of $70,000 for a new animal shelter facility, police jurors also noted the possibility that a higher property tax might be needed to pay for the a new facility’s operations.

As noted by interim Police Juror Kay Katz, a new building meant new costs. The animal shelter would not be able to operate a new, bigger building at the same costs it currently covers to operate its facility, Katz said.

Police Juror Shane Smiley points out that the animal shelter’s quarter-millage property tax expires in 2023.

The potential for a new tax for the animal shelter has been discussed with the business community, according to Caldwell and Smiley. Caldwell nodded. “That millage is not enough,” he said.

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