Parish Council approves charter

Wade McIntyre

DONALDSONVILLE – The Parish Council in a special meeting Thursday approved all 28  revisions to the Home Rule Charter recommended by the Home Rule Charter Committee.

All the changes were unanimously approved with the exception of one tying the parish president’s salary to that of the parish sheriff, and another that allows summaries of proposed ordinances be presented to the council and public, rather than having the entire ordinance read before the council.

George Valentine, Oliver Joseph and Todd Lambert voted against linking the parish president’s salary with the sheriff, and four councilmen voted to continue reading the entire ordinance.

The changes are scheduled for public vote in an election March 27, the first time changes will be considered since the Home Rule Charter was established.

One of the provisions before voters will be whether to approve a complete review of the charter each decade.

Another would give the council authority to reinstate any employee removed by the parish president except department heads.

Following the special meeting, the council met in a regular session, and deferred a proposed ordinance to re-draw parish voting districts. Members had planned to redraw districts due to population growth prior to the 2010 census, but backed off on the advise of legal counsel Lindsay Manda to Jan. 1, 2011, after the census is completed.

The council also began transitioning certain administrative functions at Lamar-Dixon Expo Center to the office of the parish president, now that the parish manages the center.

The parish is now formally authorized to lease livestock stalls, booths, buildings equipment, recreational vehicle spots and camping space, and determine the short term leases up to six months.

Another ratified ordinance allows the parish president to collect fees for event services and rentals at the center.

In an unrelated matter, State Sen. Jody Amedee addressed the council, advising members that proposed work on Hwy. 42 is in the preliminary design and environmental phase, and that right-of-way and acquisition work will hopefully be let for bid in the spring of 2011.

Work on Hwy. 73 is expected to be let out for bid in May of 2010, the senator said.