Timing issues keep choice of government off October ballot

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By Carolyn Roy, carolyn@natchitochestimes.com

An attempt to return Parish Government to the police jury hit two snags during a called meeting of the Parish Council Tuesday.

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Council Chairman Rodney Bedgood said he had been asked to call the meeting to consider an ordinance to put on the ballot to let the people of Natchitoches Parish to decide for the current form of government or the police jury form of government.

Council members had asked for the meeting with the hope of getting the proposition on the October ballot.

Assistant District Attorney Stephen Mansour said there were two timing issues. The first, for a proposition to be put on the October ballot, it must have had a public hearing and been received by the Secretary of State by July 9.

According to the Home Rule Charter, no proposed ordinance can have a public hearing until four weeks after its introduction. Since the ordinance was proposed Tuesday, there was not enough time to hold the public hearing and get it to the Secretary of State by July 9.

The second also related to a provision in the Home Rule Charter. An attempt to amend or repeal the charter shall be submitted to the voters in a parish-wide election. That attempt cannot be submitted for an election until at least 90 days after its publication. That will be in either March or April, according to the election schedule of the Secretary of State.

The council then proceeded to introduce the ordinance with Bedgood, Pat Ward-Hoover, Chris Paige and Russell Rachal voting yes. Doug deGraffenreid was not at the meeting.