Police Jury nixes charter panel

NEW ROADS — The Pointe Coupee Police Jury on Tuesday officially killed a drive to alter the parish form of government by voting against appointing a nine-member commission that would draft a proposed home rule charter.

Members decided that they didn’t want to switch from a police jury form of government to a parish president and parish council structure, with two members voting in favor of setting up the commission and nine jurors voting against the move.

Jurors Glenn Ray Cline and Janet Vosburg voted in favor of setting up the charter commission. Juror Kurt Jarreau was absent.

But it was Jarreau who submitted during the jury’s Oct. 23 meeting the proposal to appoint a charter commission.

Jarreau said at the time he was reintroducing the concept because he felt the jury needed to decide, one way or other, where it stood on the issue.

Jarreau said constituents in his district were interested in exploring the option further and he felt it was his obligation to allow them the chance to vote on it just like West Feliciana Parish residents did recently.

Juror Russell Young, a leader of opposition to the charter drive, told the jury on Tuesday that he wanted to put the issue to rest by voting against forming the commission, based on public opposition.

“Ninety percent of the people don’t want it,” Young said.

Juror Justin Cox said he felt now wasn’t the time to pursue changing the parish’s government structure.

Cox also said voting in favor of the charter commission would be forcing the people of the parish to vote on something they don’t want.

Changing the parish’s government wouldn’t solve the parish’s financial problems either, he added.

“The jury has done a good job and we’ve come a long way within the last 12 months,” Cox said.

Other business included:

GUN ORDINANCE: Jurors agreed to consider a proposed amendment to the parish’s Code of Ordinances regulating the discharge of firearms in certain areas in the parish.

According to the proposal, firearm use would be prohibited in any public park, playground, school, church or any other public gathering area.

The ordinance would ban use of firearms within 500 feet of any residence or subdivision.

Offenders would be fined up to $500 or jailed no more than 30 days if the measure becomes law.

Jurors set a public hearing for 5 p.m. Dec. 11 on the proposal.