Charter changes passes in low-turnout election

Published 10:56 am Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Bogalusa voters have approved an amendment to the city charter that changes the date elected officials take office, avoiding a delay in inauguration.
The proposition was approved by 75 percent of voters. A total of 159 votes were cast, with 120 people voting in favor of the amendment. Voter turnout was at 2.3 percent.
Under the amendment, regular inauguration for elected officials will now take place at 12:01 p.m. on Jan. 1 following an election.
As it was previously written, the charter required elected officials to take office on the first Monday in December following an election, city attorney Dale Branch said. The charter also required that city elections be held at the same time as federal elections.
Branch said that with this year’s election cycle, the runoff election will not take place until Dec. 6.
Since that date falls after the first Monday, a situation would be created where the city would be without leaders for almost a year.
Thus, the city proposed a change in the charter that would move the inauguration to Jan. 1, Branch said.
With the amendment approved by voters, the conflict in the charter has been averted.
“We should have it synchronized with the elections now,” Branch said.