City council tables parks ordinance

Published 4:14 am Wednesday, October 10, 2018

After brief discussion, the Bogalusa City Council voted Thursday to table an ordinance that would have updated the city’s laws pertaining to the Parks and Recreation Commission and Parks and Recreation Department.

During Thursday night’s city council meeting, one of the agenda items was “an ordinance to amend and re-enact Chapter 13 of the Bogalusa City Code Parks and Recreation to provide rules for the Parks and Recreation Commission and rules and regulations for the use of the park and for enforcement by the director of Parks and Recreation.”

Parks and Recreation Director Landon Tims spoke Thursday and said that most of the existing regulations would remain in effect. He said the primary modification would be changing the number of members on the commission from 17 to 13.

Tims said that the commission would be made up of unpaid volunteer members who would meet to discuss the best ways to improve recreation opportunities in Bogalusa. He said a seven-member commission was discussed, but ultimately it was decided 13 would be the best number.

“We just feel that having more volunteers would be beneficial,” he said.

However, when it came time to vote on the proposed ordinance, several city council members questioned whether all of the pages of the relevant city code were included. Tims said that some pages were left out, including those that would detail the commission members’ duties, but he would provide them to the council members later. He said that none of the duties were changing from the original city code passed in 1955.

Council member Doug Ritchie said he would prefer for the issue to be tabled until all pages were included in the proposal. Ritchie’s motion was seconded, and the vote to table was unanimous.

In an email to The Daily News, city council president Gloria Kates expressed why she had concerns about the ordinance.

“It is imperative that a full authorized working document is provided in order to make the best decision for our citizens,” she said. “Also, it has also been expressed that the council has pre-selected this commission. The city council has not done any pre-selection nor (knows) of any (interested) citizens at time.”

In her email, Kates also said that other parts of Chapter 13 were modified, including the commission members’ term length (from four years to six), and certain regulatory responsibilities. Kates said that the issuer of “additional traffic regulations” was changed from the commission to the parks and recreation director, and the issuer of non-Cassidy Park permits was changed from the Bogalusa Police Department to the Parks and Recreation Department.

In other business, the council unanimously:

  • Adopted a resolution to hire engineering services and allocate funding to receive “Bonus” points on the LCDBG application for the City of Bogalusa, relative to a FY2018/2019 Louisiana Community Development Block Grant.
  • Adopted a resolution to establish a three-member committee for water and sewage based upon Attorney Opinion 17-0085 in order to spearhead the research on adjustment of sewage bills and defining the status of the Bogalusa Board of Appeal.
  • Adopted an ordinance authorizing the mayor to enter into a contract with Boris Brown for the Deli in the Park.
  • Adopted an ordinance to enact an amendment to the Bogalusa Cemetery Commission Ordinance. The amendment will establish a volunteer commission of 5-10 members that will monitor the city’s cemeteries, and promote and stimulate public interest towards the maintenance and upkeep of family cemetery plots.
  • Adopted an ordinance authorizing the mayor to enter into a contract between the Bogalusa Police Department and the Bogalusa City School Board for school resource officers.

The council also introduced three ordinances. These ordinances will be voted upon and open for public discussion at the council’s next meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 16, at 5:30 p.m.

  • An ordinance to approve the Planning and Zoning request to close a south portion of the alley between the 1500 blocks of Avenues G and H.
  • An ordinance authorizing the mayor to acquire certain property situated in Washington Parish in Section 2 Township 3 South, Range 13 East, St. Helena Meridian, for airport safety.
  • An ordinance authorizing the mayor to acquire a servitude described as an avigation easement on certain property situated in Washington Parish in Section 2 Township 3 South, Range 13 East, St. Helena Meridian, for airport safety.