Two dates possible for Charter ballot

Wade McIntyre

Recommendations from the volunteer Home Rule Charter Commission for changes in the parish Home Rule Charter will be placed on the ballot for voters next year on either March 27 or May 1.

The proposed ordinance changes were introduced, read out and voted on at the July 21 council meeting. However, the legal process was not followed and the changes will have to be reintroduced at another meeting.

Parish spokesman Scott Rabalais said Friday the missing legal element was a Report of Recommendations handout from the Home Rule Charter Committee. In addition, the proposed ordinances were not published in time in the parish official journal.

Reintroduction of the commission recommendations prevents the 19 ordinances from being placed on the Oct. 17 ballot this year as planned.

The parish now plans to reintroduce everything at either the Aug. 20 or Sept. 3 meeting.

If the Report of Recommendations is handed out Aug. 20, the proposed changes could be headed to a March 27 ballot.

If the recommendations are given out Sept. 3, the earliest election date could be May 1.

Whichever date is chosen, the council will have a 60-day period to review the changes. Then the proposals will be introduced at either a special or regular council meeting, with publication of a notice of the public hearing date to follow in the official journal.

Public comment will take place at a regular parish council meeting in Donaldsonville, and a council vote on the proposals will follow.

When the Home Rule Charter Commission finished and presented its final proposals in May, after months of struggling to conduct meetings with a quorum, the parish faced a short-time frame to advertise and have the proposals ready for council and state bond commission approval.

In a release, Rabalais said the bond commission will review the proposals either on Nov. 5 or Jan. 7.