Bingo status unknown

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, May 18, 2011

FERRIDAY — There was a town that had a problem, and bingo was its name-o.

That problem sparked a special Ferriday Board of Aldermen meeting Tuesday to discuss the current progress, or lack thereof, with Big Bucks Gaming and its efforts to place electronic video bingo in the town.

The mayor said that while the ordinance to allow bingo in the town was passed more than six months ago, he still hasn’t seen or heard any information on when the hall would be set up and ready to go.

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“We are this far into this, and we still don’t have anything done,” he said. “I am still sitting here waiting. I need to know what is going on.”

Alderman Elijah “Stepper” Banks said the project was estimated at taking seven to 10 months to complete, and that Big Bucks Gaming is still within its time limit to get the hall going.

McGlothin said the company still does not have a location, a building plan or even a list of charitable organizations that would benefit from the gaming.

“I have even given them a bunch of different charities they could use,” he said.

To run a bingo hall, it is required that 45 percent of the money made go to a group of charitable organizations approved by the town.

Banks, who first brought the bingo ordinance to the town’s attention, said he has been in contact with Big Bucks Gaming and has been told they have a location and a list of four charities.

“There are just a whole bunch of rumors going around,” Banks said.

Rumors or not, McGlothin said he still has not gotten any information regarding the progress of the bingo hall, and he would just like to know what is going on with the plans.

“If they have people saying that they are getting things done, why don’t they come here and sit down and explain it to me so we can get it done,” he said. “I have been against it since it was first brought up, but if we are going to do it, we are going to do it right. That is all I am asking.”

The board decided to put bingo on the agenda for June’s meeting at which Big Bucks Gaming will be present to talk about its plans.

Alderwoman Gloria Lloyd said she is also tired of waiting on the bingo hall, and that something needs to be done at the June meeting.

“I pray that this gets resolved,” she said. “We have to get something done, and if we don’t, we are going to have to go with another company.”

The aldermen discussed bingo at the special meeting Tuesday after the mayor removed from the agenda of last week’s regularly scheduled May meeting a possible unknown amendment to the bingo ordinance.

Jay Laneau of Big Bucks Bingo and Vernon Properties was present at last week’s meeting, but was not allowed to speak when the agenda item was removed.

The item was removed so that town attorney Anna Ferguson could review the matter thoroughly.

The aldermen first passed the bingo ordinance in a 3-1 vote in November.

Less than one week later, McGlothin vetoed the ordinance claiming there were not enough guidelines in the ordinance to make it legitimate.

The board overrode the mayor’s veto in December, and then voted to approve the ordinance once again in January.

At the end of January, the board voted to approve Big Bucks Gaming as the bingo commercial lessor licensee.

In other news:

The board also voted to approve a resolution to amend signatures on the town’s bank accounts.

The resolution was passed to add newly appointed town clerk Cotrina Johnson to the town’s signature cards.

“We can’t sign a check without her signature,” McGlothin said.