Whether the Pointe Coupee Parish Police Jury and New Roads can end their ongoing feud over management of the William H. Scott Civic Center now depends on the city accepting half the money New Roads officials believe the parish owes for the facility’s back insurance payments.
The New Roads City Council also will need to accept an amended version of a proposed cooperative endeavor agreement mandating that the city agree to involve parish leaders in any employment decisions. The amendment mainly deals with whether temporary workers are used to work functions at the facility.
Several jurors are in favor of hiring full-time workers instead.
“You use seasonal workers to offset operation costs,” Mayor Robert Myer said Thursday. “That’s why they couldn’t efficiently run the Civic Center.”
Myer and the City Council had hopes of recovering $8,500 — half the money the city had to front last year to cover the facility’s annual insurance payment after the parish pulled out its support.
But Myer said Thursday whether things move forward from this point on will hinge on the parish allowing the city to run the facility as it sees fit.
“I believe the council would probably forgive half the debt they owe,” he said. “The Police Jury’s inability to pay the full insurance premium is not the show stopper. The show stopper is the Police Jury’s inability to understand how to efficiently run the Civic Center.”
For the past several years, both sides shared in many of the Civic Center’s operating costs through the creation of the Civic Center Commission.
The joint commission — with two members from the Police Jury and two City Council members and with Myer serving as chairman — dissolved in May 2014 when the parish pulled out of its old agreement with the city after mounting tensions between the city and the parish.
This week, the parish received a proposed agreement from the city demanding that the Police Jury reimburse the city for half the insurance money it paid in 2014.
The Police Jury instead on Tuesday volleyed the proposal back to the city, saying it would fork over only $4,330 — half of what the city’s asking for — in additional funds to finally settle the matter.
In its latest proposal to New Roads, the parish now also wants the city to produce monthly bank statements for the commission’s account, something several jurors said the city never did since the commission was formed.
“To sit here and keep putting taxpayers’ money into an account we can’t get any financial information on is ridiculous,” Juror Albert Dukes said. “I don’t see how we can sit here and ignore it.”
The parish already has agreed to cough up approximately $24,000 in back funds the city said the parish owed the commission since letting the previous agreement terminate.
“I’ve drafted multiple versions of this agreement, and it seems like every time you send an agreement over, they send it back saying they want something different,” Dannie Garrett, the parish’s attorney, said to the Police Jury at its meeting Tuesday.
The city likely will revisit the issue at its next meeting July 21.
Follow Terry Jones on Twitter, @tjonesreporter.