by sydni dunn
Special to The Advocate
October 24, 2012
GREENSBURG — The St. Helena Parish Police Jury on Tuesday approved a revised $4,500 contract to hire a Chattanooga, Tenn., law firm to draft ordinances regarding “sexually-oriented businesses” in the parish.
Pending approval from the Louisiana attorney general, the Police Jury will pay attorney Scott D. Bergthold and his firm $175 per hour — capping the amount at $4,500 — to complete the Ordinance Development Project, which will regulate adult entertainment businesses, such as novelty stores and strip clubs.
The goal of the ordinances, which will include stricter limitations on alcohol and licensing rules, is to reduce the “secondary effects of sexually-oriented businesses,” according to the agreement.
Police Jury President J. Charles Wascom said this project is not to shut any adult entertainment venues down, per se, but rather to “keep any more from coming in.”
Parish Attorney Clifton Speed agreed, saying the ordinances will ensure the industry is “run in a way that doesn’t increase criminal activity.”
He said he has not seen any specific ordinances yet.
Asked why parish officials felt strongly about regulating this industry, Wascom said the panel felt pressure from the “church people.” Some residents have opposed two strip clubs operating in the southern end of the parish.
This particular agreement is the second attempt for the Police Jury. The first contract with Bergthold’s firm was denied by the Attorney General’s Office because it offered the firm a flat-fee arrangement instead of an hourly wage, Speed said.
The revised contract’s hourly wage equals the same amount put forth in the original agreement.
Other items discussed during the meeting included:
MINERAL LEASES: The Police Jury also unanimously approved a resolution that nominated properties owned by the Police Jury for possible mineral leases through the Louisiana State Mineral Board.
The property — sections 57, 58 and 59 — is a 20-acre tract of land that includes the Police Jury building property and the area north of it.
Will Daigle, of Magnolia Energy Services, said after
the property is nominated, it will be turned over to the Mineral Board and opened for bidding. He said the bidding process, which will invite oil companies to put a price tag on the land, takes several months.
Though 20 acres is not a substantial amount of land, Daigle said, this could be a way for the Police Jury to earn a few dollars, especially if oil is found.