LIVINGSTON — A procession of speakers served notice on the Livingston Parish Council that they are against any attempt to limit how much time is allotted to residents wanting to address the council.
Thursday night’s discussion about regulating residents’ input at council meetings grew out of an earlier session when some council members suggested that remarks by people not on the agenda should be limited to three minutes.
Robert Andrews Smiley, one of the speakers, told the council, “We’re talking about freedom of speech and I would be very, very cautious about trying to limit our freedom to come here and state our opinions. We are taxpayers and we have the right to be heard.”
Councilman Buddy Mincey suggested that people on the official meeting agenda be given all the time they need to state their business but that others not on the agenda be limited to a time period to be determined by the council.
Council President Randy Rushing said that he saw no need to consider new rules because the council already has adopted Robert’s Rules of Order as guiding principle on conduct of its meetings.
After listening to the speakers, the council made no decision on the issue before moving on to other matters, including:
SEWER DISTRICT: The council asked for a two-week delay in granting a request from George McCallum of the engineering firm Alvin Fairburn & Associates to expand the boundaries of Sewer Districts 1 and 2 as well as seek grant funding to finance the extension.
Councilwoman Cindy Wale said that she would not vote for the measure unless she had a written resolution to study.
After other council members also raised questions, McCallum agreed to the delay.
MULTIPURPOSE SITES: Melynda Smith, leading an effort to build a multipurpose facility as a venue for 4-H activities, livestock shows, rodeos and other activities, told the council that her group was looking at two proposed sites offered by the parish.
One is near Holden and the other on Buddy Ellis Road, she said.
Mincey commended Smith for her efforts, and he and other council members agreed that such a facility is needed in Livingston Parish.
“We should have started this 10 or 20 years ago,” Mincey said.