By James Minton
October 21, 2012
ST. FRANCISVILLE — West Feliciana Parish voters will decide Nov. 6 whether to scrap the parish’s police jury and change to a form of government outlined in a document drafted by a home-rule charter commission earlier this year.
If approved by voters, the parish would have a parish president and a parish council with five members.
The Police Jury has seven members elected from single-member districts.
The home-rule charter proposition is the second of the local propositions on the ballot in West Feliciana Parish.
Early voting for the election will be from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Oct. 30, except for Oct. 28, at the West Feliciana Parish Registrar of Voters office, 5932 Commerce St., St. Francisville.
The Greater St. Francisville Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring an informational meeting on the Nov. 6 ballot items at 6 p.m. Thursday at First Baptist Church in St. Francisville.
The church is at U.S. 61 and La. 10. The public is invited to attend.
A copy of the 39-page proposed charter is available in the “public notices” section of the Police Jury’s website, http://www.wf
The police jurors who were in office in January 2011 appointed an 11-member commission to draft a parish charter proposal after the chamber of commerce requested the action in July 2010.
The commission delivered the final draft of the document in May to the jury with five new members elected in the fall 2011 elections.
If approved by the voters and accepted by the U.S. Department of Justice, the parish would be governed by a five-member council, with four council members elected from new single-member districts and one member elected in parishwide, at-large balloting.
A parish president would be the chief executive officer, responsible for running the day-to-day operations of parish government and carrying out the council’s policy decisions.
If voters approve the plan, an election would be held at least 90 days later to fill the office of parish president, and the seven police jurors would become parish council members until their terms expire at the end of 2015.
The succeeding councilmen would be elected in the fall 2015 elections.
Other highlights of the proposal include:
- Setting council members’ pay at $800 per month without retirement or other benefits. No reimbursement would be allowed for travel in the parish. A pay increase would require a charter amendment election.
- Limiting council members and the parish president to two full terms in office.
- Setting the parish president’s salary as the average of the salaries of the clerk of court, sheriff and assessor.
- Giving the parish president the power to veto line items in the council’s budgets.
- Limiting the days on which tax elections could be held.
- Creating finance, public works and planning and zoning departments.