Public Works truck fire sheds light on some problems Town of Jonesboro faces

This past Thursday, the temperature was cold enough to want a fire. Around midmorning, one lit up in the Town of Jonesboro, but the kind of fire that was wanted as this blaze started in the engine of one of the Public Works trucks.  

The Jonesboro Fire Department and Jonesboro Police immediately responded to the scene at the parking area in front of Traina’s Bakery located on 6th Street to put the fire out and control traffic in the area. No injuries were reported but the engine and front area of the pick-up truck was badly damaged.

“It is unfortunate that this took place but not totally unexpected,” said Jonesboro Mayor James “Spike” Harris who explained further.

“The entire fleet of trucks for the town is dilapidated and in bad working order,” continued Harris. “The records show the town hasn’t had a new truck since 2001 and that the ones that have been added to our fleet over the past several years were all used with over 100,000 miles on them when they were purchased.”

“It is not just the motors that are of concern but on most of them, even the speedometers, odometers, and fuel gauges don’t work. As result, we can’t properly track the usage of these vehicles like we need to.”

When asked what solutions are possible, the new Mayor who took office on January 1, 2023, said that he has already been working toward fixing the problem and others he has encountered.

“One of the first things I did was examine the town’s inventory of vehicles and there is no question that our fleet needs to be updated,” said Harris. “I am now working with a leasing company to find a cost-effective way we can get this done.”

Mayor Harris gives “State of Town” address

On, Thursday, January 26th, Mayor Harris fulfilled a campaign promise of being transparent to the citizens about the state of affairs of the Town of Jonesboro by providing a video update on some of the issues he has encountered since taking over as Mayor on January 1st. Of note is the announcement that the Town of Jonesboro is back on the Non-Compliance List. To view the Mayors address you can visit the James Harris Facebook page or click here

Mayor releases two letters for public view

On January 19th a letter was received by the Mayor’s office from the Civil Divison of the State of Louisiana Attorney General’s Office. In the letter, it was acknowledged that per Legislative Auditor’s reports for the fiscal years ending June 30th, 2020, and June 30, 2021, that the Town of Jonesboro violated the Public Bid Law in multiple fiscal years.

Another letter was received from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Office of Management and Finance on January 23rd stating that Audited Financial Statements for the period ending June 30, 2022 that was due to the Legislative Auditor by December 30, 2022 had not yet been received. The letter further stated that as result the DEQ is prohibited from disbursing funds to the town in regards to any wastewater projects funded through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund.

To view each of these letters see below: 

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