City Council adopts budget amid flurry of other moves

Pictured from left to right are Ruston City Council members Carolyn Cage, Melanie Lewis, John Denny, Mayor Ronny Walker and Bruce Siegmund during Monday’s monthly meeting at City Hall. (Photo by T. Scott Boatright)

By T. Scott Boatright

Ruston’s Board of Aldermen adopted its budget for the fiscal year beginning on Oct. 1 while passing a number of other resolutions as matters of business of a monthly City Council meeting held Monday night at City Hall.

The city now has a budget moving forward into the upcoming fiscal year after the City Council unanimously approved the proposed budget (Alderwomen Angela Mayfield was absent from the meeting) while also making an amendment to the original proposal.

That change was the transfer for $130,000 from the General Fund to the Capital Expenditure Fund for purchase of a 2019 Kenworth Tandem Dump Truck, which suddenly became available as surplus from Jackson Parish.

Purchase of a new dump truck was part of the original city of Ruston proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year, meaning there is a saving involved from the city’s original plans.

Ruston’s City Council also unanimously adopted the following resolutions during Monday’s meeting:

• Requesting the state of Louisiana to install Ruston Sports Complex (RSC) directional signage on Interstate 20 and U.S. Highway 167 directing visitors to the RSC. The cost for creation and installation of the signage is still unknown

• Authorizing the city to enter a Professional Services Agreement with Hunt, Guillot and Associates for engineering services related to commercial development pertaining to the Buc-cee’s construction project along I-20 and Tarbutton Road at a cost of $191,095.

• Authorizing the city to enter in a Professional Services Agreement with the Riley Company of Louisiana for engineering services related to construction of a New Louisiana Tech University-area electrical substation because the college is moving away from generating its own electricity. Cost for the services will be $34,500 with the new substation allowing the city to add electric service to residences and businesses to the new substation, providing a better spread of service.

• Authorizing the city to enter in a Professional Services Agreement with Vector Disease Control, Inc. for mosquito control services, including truck sprayers, aerial sprayers and West Nile screening/control, at a cost of $157,658.

• Revocation of a portion of Second Street and Vernon Avenue for creation of a new street as part of the Lincoln Parish Police Jury’s Health Hut project.

•  Authorizing the city to enter into a contract related to the South Bernard Cross Drain Project because of drainage issues along the shoulder of the road. Ruston’s City Council agreed to accept a low bid of $99,975 from Regal Construction of Natchitoches for that work.

• Authorizing the city to enter into a contract with The Mabry Company for work related to improving drainage on the site of the new Ruston Animal Shelter at a cost of $54,900.

In other business, Ruston’s City Council also authorized the city to re-enter into an annual application for funding assistance with the state of Louisiana’s Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) for improvements to the Ruston Regional Airport; adopting an ordinance to amend Chapter 29 of the city of Ruston Code of Ordinances related to approval of a preliminary plate for the Greenwood Crossing subdivision; and introduced an ordinance to amend various sections of Ruston’s Zoning Code.

That ordinance was simply introduced with details slated to be discussed and possibly decided on during the City Council’s October monthly meeting.

During her financial report, City Chief Financial Officer Julie Keen reported that the city’s total sales tax collected in July was $1,927,000, an increase of $113,000 or 6% over July of 2022.