Gretna officials are working with a private company to overhaul the city’s code of ordinances to root out any outdated, redundant and unconstitutional provisions that may have accumulated over the years.
A copy of the changes recommended by Tallahassee, Florida-based Municipal Code Corp. was available online early last week. However, the city took it down temporarily so the mayor, department heads, City Council members and police chief could review the potential changes and offer feedback.
The council was supposed to vote on the changes last week but deferred the matter after realizing it needed more time to go through the document.
“It’s just not ready yet,” Councilman Joe Marino said. “It’s such a comprehensive project. There are more revisions that need to be made, and that’s just from going through it myself.”
Marino said Mayor Belinda Constant probably will meet with council members two at a time to gather input. When a completed version of the proposed changes is ready, the code — 658 pages long at this point — will be put back on the city’s website, along with highlights of the more notable alterations.
The last major rewrite of the code was in 1997, and officials said that’s enough time for a build-up of ordinances that are inconsistent with previous ones, have not kept up with changes in state law or have been rendered unconstitutional by court decisions.
For example, there are laws on the books related to drug trafficking and loitering in cemeteries that are no longer constitutional, and the section on disturbing the peace will get updates to make it consistent with Louisiana law, officials said.
Many changes are trivial — updating references to job titles and altering the numbering of ordinances — but Marino said a significant change will be to gather all of the city’s laws on public notice and violation notices and put them in one place.
“One centralized notice section is a huge revision that will be very helpful and clean up a lot of different things,” he said.
The city paid the company, known as Municode, $20,000 to suggest the revisions.