CENTRAL — An ordinance to create a seven-member council was introduced to the City Council on Tuesday night with the full ordinance to be discussed at a Sept. 27 meeting.
Councilman Wayne Messina introduced the ordinance and said after the meeting that it’s time for the council to vote on the issue.
The proposed ordinance would create a council with five members elected from single-member districts and two elected “at-large,” which means they could live anywhere in the city.
The five council members are now selected “at-large.”
The issue of creating districts for the council was last introduced at the council’s June 28 meeting.
At that time, the proposed ordinance called for establishing a five-member council from single-member districts.
That ordinance was proposed by Councilman Louis DeJohn, but he agreed to pull the ordinance if council members agreed to not propose any other ordnances on the issue until a more public process could be held.
The ordinance deferral was requested by Mayor Shelton “Mac” Watts.
At the time, Messina said, he was upset because a committee charged with looking at the district concept had recommended going with a seven-member council — with five council members elected from districts and two elected at-large.
Messina, who was chairman of that committee, said he felt the committee’s work was being disregarded when another ordinance — that included five councilman districts — was introduced instead.
After the meeting, Messina said, he talked to DeJohn, and Messina said he agreed to not introduce any ordinances on the issue.
However, three committee meetings have been held since then and, again, the majority voted for a five-district, two at-large council, Messina said.
“I think it’s now time to vote,” Messina said about the issue.
In other action, the council passed an ordinance asking city officials to study the cost and feasibility of making improvements to Frenchtown Road in concert with a planned Baton Rouge city-parish project.
A proposed ordinance asking for $5,000 for soil testing on Frenchtown Road will be presented at the Sept. 27 council meeting.