City trashes proposed ordinance

Published 4:47 am Saturday, February 9, 2019

The Bogalusa City Council voted Tuesday evening to pull a proposed ordinance dealing with the city’s trash, after several citizens spoke out against the proposal in a meeting filled with often contentious debate.

Council president Teddy Drummond described the ordinance, which had been first introduced at the council’s Jan. 22 meeting.

“(It would require) homeowners and landowners not to leave a mess behind when they change renters,” he said. “Y’all have seen it. I’ve seen it, I’ve got pictures here of it. That’s what it boils down to. Public Works has to pick this stuff up and haul it.”

Drummond then asked if there was any public participation to discuss the ordinance. Citizen Debbie McCloud was the first to speak.

“I get not leaving refrigerators and debris all over the road,” she said. “But if I neatly stack some material by the trash can, is that not acceptable? I’m worried that this can be abused, if there’s not some clarification on what you mean by refuse.

“I support and understand what you’re trying to accomplish, but I don’t feel like the ordinance is specific enough. I’m just asking for clarification; I’m not trying to pick a fight.”

McCloud said that she did not think there would be any confusion “now,” but was worried that a future council might interpret the ordinance too broadly and punish innocent citizens.

Theresa Keller said that she was against the proposed ordinance “for a selfish reason.”

“I, at least twice a year, go into my storage room and I’ll take out mattresses that I’m not going to use any longer … things of that sort,” she said. “(I haul) it to the front where the garbage cans are, and the city comes and picks it up. I don’t understand, are you saying that when we are doing our spring cleaning, and we have sofas that we are no longer going to use, we cannot put them out there to be picked up any longer?”

Drummond responded, “Pretty much.”

“I just don’t think that the city should be denying this service to us,” she said. “I thought that you would work to make things better for the citizens of Bogalusa, rather than making it harder and more difficult for the citizens of Bogalusa.”

Tempers nearly flared later during the public participation, when City Public Works Director James Hall stood up to speak.

“The problem I’ve got is, we’ve got to get the nasty a— people in the city of Bogalusa to pick up by themselves,” Hall said. “The city ain’t put it out there.”

Drummond later interjected, “James, let’s not say bad words.”

After Hall finished, citizen Fate Ferrell then stood up and approached the podium. Ferrell had spoken out earlier against the ordinance.

“Mr. Hall, I am not on the city’s a—,” Ferrell said. “I am just telling the city what we need to do, the city and the citizens.”

At this point, Hall returned to the podium and stood directly to the left of Farrell.

“… and you’re up in my face!,” Ferrell said, looking over at Hall.

Hall replied, “Yes, I am.”

Ferrell responded, “You want to get knocked out?”

After a few more back-and-forth remarks between Hall and Ferrell, Bogalusa Police Chief Kendall Bullen came over to break up the two and prevent any further escalation.

After several other citizens spoke out against the ordinance, Drummond said it would simply be pulled. The council voted 7-0 to take this action.

“When y’all see this,” Drummond said, holding up photos of unattended trash in several city locations. “Y’all just remember, I tried (to address it). I tried.”

Later in the meeting, during his department update, Hall apologized to Ferrell and also apologized for his language.

“I would like to apologize,” he said. “I’m sorry, I lost my cool. I get frustrated.”

Hall also noted that the Rayburn Correctional Center work crews often pick up more than 400 bags of trash each week.

“I wish everybody was as neat (around their homes) as Mr. Fate Ferrell,” he said.


In other business, the council:

  • Introduced an ordinance to allow the City of Bogalusa to take out a Revenue Anticipation Note loan not to exceed $950,000. This loan would be paid back immediately upon receiving tax proceeds later in the year. This ordinance will be up for public debate and a vote at the council’s next meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 5:30 p.m.
  • Introduced a proposed ordinance to amend Ordinance 2578, dealing with the duties of the Parks and Recreation Commission.
  • Heard updates from department heads. Bullen reported that the police had a busy January.

The Bogalusa Police Department responded to 1,262 complaints during the month. The BPD made 146 arrests — 90 misdemeanors, 13 felonies and 43 traffic-related. The BPD also responded to 29 accidents, nine escorts and one DWI.

Bogalusa Fire Chief Richard Moody said that his department responded to 66 calls in January, which is “about half of what we normally do.”

The next meeting of the Bogalusa City Council will be Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 5:30 p.m. at Bogalusa City Hall, 214 Arkansas St.