AMITE — The Tangipahoa Parish Council has further amended its proposed redistricting plan creating 11 new split precincts.
Demographer Bill Blair told council members during their meeting Monday night the changes do not affect district lines as proposed.
Blair said the amendments address voting precinct boundaries only, resetting them as they currently exist, thereby eliminating the need for creating new voting precincts and increased election costs for the parish.
“First, it will cost more election dollars if you create 11 new precincts,” he said. And “second, you will avoid voter confusion” by keeping existing voting precincts, Blair added.
Councilmen Tennis Rick and Ronnie Bankston were absent from the meeting. Councilman Michael Petitto left early, before the vote on the amendments.
The amendments, approved without dissent, will be forwarded to the Justice Department.
Other business included:
CARPENTERS LANDING: The council discussed possible closure of Carpenters Landing, a boat launch on the Tangipahoa River at the end of Old Covington Highway.
Resident Pat Rieth said public use of the area has become a problem. “It’s not used for anything wholesome or safe anymore,” he said.
Rieth said he found 34 people barbecuing and camping on his property and has, with the help of Tangi Clean volunteers, collected 80 bags of trash.
“There are piles of broken glass on the sandbars,” he added.
Rieth said that after installing a fence, he found it cut down. Fires have been set in the area, he said, apparently in retaliation for trespassing complaints made to the Sheriff’s Office.
Councilman Carlos Notariano said the launch, which cannot be used by boaters because of broken concrete, is located at a cul-de-sac and includes only enough public land for parking about five vehicles, he said.
Councilman Nicky Muscarello Sr. suggested the council temporarily close the landing, “until we can come up with a solution.”
Notariano said he is not ready to push for shutting down the launch at this time because, “I have other people asking if we can fix the launch.”
Council Chairman Tom Tolar said the parish needs more public access to the river and closure of Carpenters Landing should not be a first consideration.
“We need to talk about it,” Tolar said, “consider it more.”