Parish Council Votes on change in Form of Government

By Ricky LaCour

The Parish Council meeting on Aug. 19 featured a vote for one of the most anticipated topics on the agenda for the past few months. After being put off time and time again, the vote was cast to consider adopting Ordinance 010-2019 to put on the ballot to let the people of Natchitoches Parish decide to stay with the current form of government or revert back to the Police Jury form of government. It failed with three voting for (Chris Paige, Patsy Hoover, and Rodney Bedgood) and two against (Doug de Graffenried and Russell Rachal). This change requires 4 votes to pass.  Super Majority.

Conversation regarding the topic got heated as two council members delayed the vote with underlying budget questions in regards to the changes if parish citizens voted to reinstate the police jury form of government. This sent several citizens into a small uproar as they voiced their disappointment.

Several individuals spoke of the importance of the vote and voiced their opinions on the effectiveness of the current form of government and the previous.

Some expressed their frustration with the council members.

“This is a shame,” said Janice Perry. “You advertised that the public hearing was about the vote finally being made to only get here and delay the vote with even more nonsense.”

Other items on the agenda:

Council to consider introducing Ordinance 013-2019 to effect a zoning change from an I-A Industry-Agriculture District to a B-1 Business District for commercial us on a 3.77 acre tract of land, parcel #0010277800, situated in Section 83, T9N, R7W along Louisiana Highway 3278 in Natchitoches, as shown on the Survey attached hereto: and otherwise to provide with respect thereto.

Council to consider introducing Ordinance 014-2019 for an Operating Budget Amendment.

Council to consider adopting Ordinance 012-2019 Budget Revision for the Solid Waste Fund.

Council to consider approving moving Precinct 1-4 and 1-4A Natchitoches Parish from the Natchitoches Central Boy’s Gym, 6513 LA Highway 3110 to Restoration Apostolic Ministries, 175 Fairgrounds Road, Natchitoches, LA. This move would take effect starting with the October 12, 2019 election.

Council to adopt a Resolution approving the holding of an election in Fire Protection District No. 2 of the Parish of Natchitoches, State of Louisiana, on Saturday, November 16, 2019, to authorize the levy of a parcel fee therein.

Council to adopt a Resolution to establish Natchitoches Parish Fire Protection District 6 Fire Prevention Bureau to conduct fire safety inspections within the boundaries of Fire Protection District 6.

Council to consider approving the Resolution from Fire District #1 to change the membership of the Fire District #1 Board of Commissioners from seven to five members.

Council to consider approving the Louisiana Department of Economic Development of the following action pursuant to 503 (H) (1) of the Industrial Tax Exemption Program.

Council to approve to award the contract to Waste Connection for the lease of the transfer station.


24 thoughts on “Parish Council Votes on change in Form of Government

  1. I have not seen a follow-up on the Jackson Jones hearing. Did the hearing take place?
    Results? Curious.

  2. I believe it’s time to have more council members. Some of the districts are so large that it’s impossible for one person to cover the area, or be totally fair in who gets what in the district. Five members is a joke as far as voting is concerned and it allows for some really bad decisions by the council. I don’t know if they will ever vote for more districts or Members at Large, but in my opinion, more members are desperately needed.

    • You’re right. 5 people cannot adequately serve such a geographically large parish. Shouldn’t the parish be divided into smaller districts?

    • You don’t understand the point of the HRC form of government. What you are advocating is a return to the Police Jury, or something close to it. The problem is not a 5-member council, it’s that all, or at least 3 of the current ones, are clueless what their role is.

      Given a proper chance the HRC, with 5 council members, will work just fine.

  3. Your headline is misleading. “Parish Council Votes to Change Form of Government” implies the council did something they didn’t actually do. What they DID do was vote against letting the people of the parish decide. They didn’t change our form of government. But, the way things look now, that could be their next step, since they apparently don’t want us to decide.

  4. Where is the survey that it says is attached for Ordinance 013-2019 which is a zoning change along Highway 3278?

  5. The Parish needs to fix the road in the middle of Kisatchie National Forest to the Beasley Cemetery so that the people who want to visit the Graves can get to it. I recently tried in a truck and was stopped at the first of several problem areas. The road is only going to get worse and there is NO other road to the cemetery other than that one.

    • We have plenty of parks to keep up, that’s for sure; off subject, by maybe more $ could be used for streets in the City, like Second St. from Salters Furniture to the Gates of NSU. Crumbling!

  6. this state is notorious for back door and crooked politics and it shows from the top to every little town in La and it won’t change soon.Its a good ole boys club and who knows who…

  7. Not sure why going back to something that hasn’t worked in the past is up for discussion. Think it’s past time for a change in the people in charge of deciding our parishes fate. A clean slate with people who aren’t constantly bickering and and abusing their power would be a fine start.

  8. Hearing these comments make me smile and grin. After some 50 years observing politics and voting in Natchitoches and Natchitoches Parish whether it be Parish government or Parish school board, there is always bickering among some members— striving for power, working against each other and not for the people or children. It will likely never change which may reflect why we now have stagnant schools and little economic growth; please correct me if I’m wrong.

  9. It sounds to me that the 3/2 vote PASSED moving the issue before the voters, not FAILED. Or was that the vote to delay? Reporting unclear to me.

    • The Charter requires a 2/3 vote on everything. With 5 members 2/3 = 3.25. Which means, of course, in reality ALL such proposals need 4 votes. Except, what constitutes a quorum? What if only 3 council members are present, for whatever reason, can the council conduct business, and if so, pass ordinances with a 2-1 vote?

  10. Really….5 votes ( or really 3 to be majority) is what determines our future?????? And there obviously qualified!!!

  11. Matt it’s been written here that 3 members want it changed back because 2 members outright don’t know how HRC works and one wants it to fail. I’ll let you figure out which 3 that is. The jury system works all over the country and HRC works all over the state,but neither one works here why? When people have personal agenda what ever that might be,with a 3-2 vote its never going to work! Those with personal agendas and those that want to start out playing games need to go! We need transparency to start with!

  12. these people and their egos are a joke.They fight with each other
    like little kids who can’t get their way.Fire or vote them all out and start new !

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