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|OPPJ says OK to OCOG budget; jurors tap The Ouachita Citizen as Official Journal|
The Ouachita Parish Police Jury signed off on the Ouachita Council of Government's operating budget for the new fiscal year, which begins July 1.
The police jury acted on the matter during its regular meeting Monday.
Police jurors also unanimously named The Ouachita Citizen the Official Journal for the police jury for the period beginning July 1 and ending June 30, 2009, while tapping the Monroe Dispatch as an auxiliary journal for the police jury, too.
The Ouachita Citizen submitted the lowest bid for the Official Journal designation.
State law requires municipalities and other government agencies to maintain a contract with local newspapers to publish public notices, upcoming meeting agendas and other official announcements.
Next week, OCOG will vote on its proposed $426,908 budget, which includes a $73,478 increase over its current budget.
Members of the police jury, along with representatives from the Monroe City Council and West Monroe Board of Aldermen, make up OCOG.
David Creed, OCOG's executive director, said the $73,478 increase includes additional federal highway money, which can be used for local projects. To access the federal funding, the three local governmental agencies that make up OCOG must agree to provide matching funds.
The police jury would be required to pay $7,228. The city of Monroe would have to put up $5,425, and the city of West Monroe's portion would be $1,391.
"Every year we get planning money through OCOG from federal highways and from the Federal Transit Administration," Creed said.
North Delta Regional Planning and Development District, which assists OCOG with planning matters, typically uses this money for planning and to pay OCOG's auditor as well.
However, with the additional money this year, OCOG could use the funds toward local road improvement projects, Creed said.
"We're not asking you to put more money into this match for North Delta, but we do think it's a good idea to get this total amount of increased federal highways money," Creed said. "OCOG would then have to determine how it's used."
"We could use this money to pay for the stage zero study for Old Sterlington Road, for example," Creed continued. "That's one of the things that needs to be done and it can be used for that purpose. It could be used for the stage zero study on other projects that OCOG is looking at, like Montgomery Road in West Monroe. We feel like we ought not turn the money back. We should accept the full amount."
OCOG will review and vote on its proposed budget at its next meeting, which will be held at noon, Monday, June 23, at Monroe city hall. A public hearing will be held beginning at 11:30 a.m. that day to give citizens an opportunity to comment on the proposed budget.
Once OCOG adopts its budget for the upcoming fiscal year, it will become affective July 1.