OPELOUSAS — The St. Landry Parish Council failed twice to amend Wednesday’s meeting agenda to set an election for a 10.36-mill property tax renewal for a fire district that covers much of the parish.
The council’s rules on amending a meeting agenda require a unanimous vote of all 13 council members. And on Wednesday, two council members held up the tax renewal matter.
Jerry Red Jr. voted against a motion for an agenda amendment to call the election in Fire District 3.
Later, Hurlin Dupre’s no vote killed a motion to call a special meeting Monday night to discuss the issue.
Red objected to the lack of early notification.
The district’s fire chief, Ray Mendenhall, was at a council committee meeting two weeks ago, but did not mention the tax renewal item.
Council attorney Lance Pitre said it is the duty of the fire district commissioners, not Mendenhall, to provide information to the council.
Red also noted the council’s two clerks placed a memo in the mailbox of each council member on Friday about the tax renewal issue. But, he said, the memos were not enough. He said the clerks, Arlyssa Taylor and Laycie Alfred, should have notified a council official to place the tax renewal matter on the agenda.
“Now we’re being asked to take action on this matter (amending the agenda) because they didn’t do their jobs,” Red said.
Incoming chairman Leon Robinson asked Red to apologize to the clerks, but Red did not respond.
According to the memo, the fire district is requesting the renewal election be held on May 2.
Also Wednesday, Robinson was elected council chairman after Red removed his name from nomination when Robinson received six votes.
Ronald Buschel defeated Gary Courville 7-5 for vice-chairman.
Also, Pitre announced that Wednesday was his final meeting as council attorney. He said he has been reassigned by District Attorney Earl Taylor to handle nonsupport and juvenile justice.
Chad Pitre, no relation, will be the council’s new attorney beginning in February.
Council member Pam Gautreau said she hates to see Lance Pitre leave the adviser’s post. “You have done a great job of keeping this council on good legal status despite all the politics that are played in this room.”