Feb 19, 2014 13:10 Council to let voters decide on changes to parish charter Council to let voters decide on changes to parish charter Vic Couvillion| Special to The Advocate Feb. 19, 2014 Comments AMITE — Tangipahoa Parish voters should have an opportunity to vote for any possible changes to the Home Rule Charter, which has served as a blueprint for parish government since its adoption by the voters in 1986, the council decided Monday. The document has not been changed since it was adopted. The Parish Council, on a split vote, adopted a resolution directing the Home Rule Charter Review Committee to submit its findings to the council no later than May 27. That would give the council the opportunity to review any proposed changes, call public hearings on the matter, and have revisions ready before the July 23 deadline for placing items on the November ballot. At its last meeting, the council balked at placing a deadline on the charter revision committee. At that time, Councilman Lionel Wells said mandating a deadline was interfering with the committee’s work, something that council members agreed not to do when the committee was appointed last year. Only Wells voted against the resolution Tuesday. Committee Chairman Tony Licardi said his group had no objection to the May 27 deadline and committee members had told him they preferred having the deadline so their work can be completed and the matter put to the voters. He said the committee will continue to meet twice a month to complete its comprehensive review of the charter. “We want to get this right and we have worked hard for the past year studying the charter and deciding what should be changed and what should be left alone. We are ready to conclude our work and we can make the May 27 deadline,” he told the council. Licardi said his group has heard expert testimony from numerous authorities and he welcomed comments from those council members who had addressed the committee over the past year. He said all charter revision meetings are open to the public. Councilman Louis Joseph told Licardi that he had not attended any committee meetings because he did not want to leave the impression that he was trying to influence any committee decisions. Licardi assured Joseph that he was welcome to meeting with the committee. The committee will hold its next meeting on Feb. 18 at the Gravity Drainage District No. 1 Headquarters in Tickfaw at 6 p.m. Council President David Vial explained that once the committee’s final recommendations are presented to the council, public hearings will be held to gather additional input. The council will have the final call on what charter changes will be presented to the voters. Also Monday, the council approved an ordinance placing “No Dumping” signs on Fire Tower Road in District 2 in the northern end of the parish. Councilman Greg Varnado who represents the area said hunters have been dumping deer hides and other waste materials from the animals in creeks in the area. He said the problem has grown and illegal dumping is polluting streams. He asked all citizens refrain from disposing of garbage, trash and animal remains in parish streams to end problems with pollution. Parish president Gordon Burgess also asked councilmen to submit their respective lists of roads that need resurfacing in their districts. “Go ahead and ask for more miles of resurfaced roads than you will get in your district and we can then talk about which ones are most in need of repair,” he said. The next phase of the parish’s road overlay program should commence in July.