Denham Springs — After the city’s Civil Service Board earlier this year abandoned an investigation because it did not properly record testimony, the city has now purchased a new recording system for council chambers, Mayor Gerard Landry told reporters before Monday’s City Council meeting.
The Civil Service Board, which uses the same recording equipment as the City Council, had to abandon its investigation of the Denham Springs police chief and captain after their attorneys revealed the board did not properly record the officers’ testimonies. Their interviews are scrambled, and some segments are missing. In January, board Chairman Clay Gillespie went before the council and blamed the recording equipment in the chamber for the incomplete tapes. Afterward, the city began examining other options.
Landry said Monday a new system will be installed in a few weeks. He couldn’t recall the specific model but described it as a digital recorder that makes duplicate back-ups of recordings. The city bought the equipment for about $5,000, the mayor said.
Meanwhile at the council meeting, Livingston Economic Development Council President Randy Rogers asked the city to recommit to its recently expired $10,000 annual pledge to the nonprofit, which works to lure businesses to move to the parish. He reminded the city council of LEDC’s recent successes, such as attracting Epic Piping to build a new plant near the town of Livingston. Closer to Denham Springs, LEDC helped convince Bass Pro to build a store a few years ago, Rogers said.
Landry said the city would review its contribution in a few weeks when the council begins working on next year’s budget but that Denham Springs would give what it could.
On another matter, the City Council adopted a city ordinance outlawing the possession of synthetic marijuana.
The drugs are already illegal, but the new ordinance allows the city in those cases to keep court fines that previously went to the local judicial district.
The ordinance passed unanimously without public comment or council discussion.
Denham Springs sees about one or two synthetic marijuana cases each week, and the number is on the rise, City Prosecutor Blayne Honeycutt has said. The city wrote the new ordinance at his urging.
The maximum penalty for possession is 60 days in jail and a $500 fine, the same punishment as possession of marijuana. City leaders have said it is unclear how much money the new ordinance will bring in, but “it’s not exactly going to be a profit center,” Landry said when the ordinance was introduced earlier this month.
Follow Steve Hardy on Twitter, @SteveRHardy.