Drummond approved as council president, Keys named VP

Published 4:40 am Saturday, January 12, 2019

A new Bogalusa City Council held its first meeting Tuesday evening, as a new president and vice president were named for 2019.

Teddy Drummond, who was recently re-elected as an at-large member of the council, was approved to serve as the 2019 council president. Danielle Keys, a new member of the council representing District B, was approved as the vice president.

In each case, the vote was a unanimous 7-0 and only one candidate was nominated.

As president, Drummond will be responsible for leading the meetings and other duties. He took over the position from Gloria Kates, who represents District A. Keys replaced Sherry Fortenberry, who did not seek re-election in District E.

Five of the seven members of the Bogalusa City Council are new. Drummond and Kates were re-elected in November. The new members are Keys, Oneita Graham in District C, Kenny Kellis in District D, Mark Irvine in District E, and Penny Douglas as an at-large member.

In other business, the council:

  • Introduced seven ordinances, which will be up for discussion and a vote at the next city council meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 22.

The first ordinance would authorize the mayor to enter into a cooperative agreement between the city of Bogalusa and the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs. The second ordinance would create a city cemetery custodian, and describe the new position’s job requirements and responsibilities.

The other five ordinances are to consider amending the 2019 city budget, in the categories of: city council secretary salary, senior citizens budget, streets, parks and youth recreation, and city retirement system.

  • Approved an ordinance authorizing the mayor to accept the low bidder for AIR-PAK X3 SCBA General Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus for the Bogalusa Fire Department. Fire chief Richard Moody said that new equipment is appreciated and much needed for his department.
  • Tabled two ordinances — one to approve the 2019 city budget, and one to provide for sanctions to compel meeting attendance by council members. The decision was made to table these items to give the new council members more time to review them.
  • Heard from Taffy Morrison with Well-Ahead Louisiana, who informed the public of two recent awards.

First, Morrison noted that the Bogalusa Mayor’s Wellness Council received the National Rural Health Community Star Award. She said that Bogalusa is the first Louisiana city to earn the award in the last decade.

Morrison also noted that State Rep. Malinda White, who is from Bogalusa and whose District 75 includes Washington Parish, was recognized as the “Louisiana Legislator of the Year” by the Louisiana Rural Health Association.

  • Heard from city department heads, who provided reports and updates on 2018 as well as recent events.

Public works director James Hall noted that the January flooding would require the park to be closed at least until the summer. He noted that there is no way yet to know if the roads have a stable foundation or are washed out underneath the asphalt, and it is a safety issue for citizens to stay out.

Bogalusa Police Chief Kendall Bullen said that his department responded to the following in December: 1,378 complaints, 177 arrests, 103 misdemeanors, 15 felonies, 59 traffic violations, 38 accidents, nine escorts and one DWI. For the entire year of 2018, the BPD responded to: 16,466 complaints, 2,693 arrests, 1,105 misdemeanors, 158 felonies, 1,420 traffic violations, 550 accidents, 96 escorts and 20 DWIs.

Moody said that the fire department responded to 35 structure fires within Bogalusa city limits in 2018. He noted that the department also responded to about 20 structure fires outside of its jurisdiction, as a part of mutual-aid agreements with other agencies.

The BFD also responded to 40 grass fires, 21 vehicle fires, 63 motor vehicle accidents, 96 false alarms, 255 service calls, 737 medical calls, 52 hazardous materials/gas line leaks, 10 animal rescues, and 135 “other calls.” He said the department also rescued nine citizens from the January floodwaters — seven evacuations from homes and two drivers from submerged vehicles.

Airport Manager Louis Busby also provided an update. He said that there were many needed upgrades completed in 2018. He estimated that the airport received about $2 million in 100-percent-funded grants from the state and federal government.

“Most of our hangars are full,” Busby said. “We’re growing, and getting bigger and better. Come out and visit.”

The next Bogalusa City Council meeting will be Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 5:30 p.m. at Bogalusa City Hall.