Parish leaders say no to bingo hall

Published 10:36 am Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Bing-No! The Concordia Parish Police Jury voted unanimously to deny the license for a proposed charitable bingo hall Monday.

The bingo proposal was originally presented to the jury by Jerry Johns on March 12. Johns is owner of the North of the Border video poker parlor.

Under Johns’ proposal, 45 percent of proceeds from the bingo hall would go to the charities that utilized the hall, 30 percent would go toward hall maintenance and 25 percent would go to the parish. The parish would receive an additional $20 from each machine yearly.

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The police jury delayed voting on the matter March 12 in order to have a public hearing.

At Monday’s meeting, there were no pro- bingo voices, and Johns was not in attendance.

Anti-bingo voices, however, were vocal.

“I do not feel that this is the way for the jury to raise money for the parish,” Ray Crouton said. “I’ve seen what gambling can do, even to people who can afford to gamble until they cannot afford it anymore.”

“I’ve been trying to get some answers to the question of ‘what is charity?’” Ferriday resident Liz Brooking said.

“If this is voted in, there need to be very strict guidelines.”

“There’s lots of room for abuse.”

Parish resident Tony Braley agreed.

“It harms the family, it takes from the family, and it doesn’t give back to the family,”

“That’s why I’m calling on the jury to go on the record as being opposed to bingo, so that, when it comes to a vote, everyone knows where the Jury stands.”

The jury unanimously went on record as being opposed to the proposition, but then President Melvin Ferrington went a step further.

“The reason we entertained a public hearing was to hear everyone’s opinion,” he said.

“We’ve been opposed to it from the beginning.”

Ferrington then asked if there was a motion to deny the license outright.

Juror Red Tiffee made the motion, and the license was denied.

In other business:

The jury approved the move of $40,000 from the parish sales tax fund to the solid waste fund.

A motion was approved to use $175 from the Economic Development Fund to pay the registration fee at the Louisiana Airport Managers’ Conference for airport manager Carl Sayers.