Mandeville voters rejected Tuesday a bid to change the city’s rules on term limits for council members, but passed three other charter changes and voted to rededicate a 1-cent sales tax to allow some of the funds generated by the tax to be used at the discretion of city leaders.
The term limits measure — only one of four proposed charter changes that engendered any controversy during a lengthy charter review process earlier this year — would have extended term limits of the council members from two to three terms. The amendment would have outlawed the practice of musical chairs, in which a district council member could serve two terms in a district seat and then move to an at-large seat, and vice versa. The amendment was opposed by Mayor Donald Villere, but was supported by most members of the council.
Of the just more than 4,000 votes cast, 65 percent of voters voted no.
With the rejection, term limits will remain at two for each council member in their current seat.
The three charter amendments that passed are mainly minor changes that simplify and remove obsolete language from the city’s governing document. One includes a provision that would allow the city’s documents to be published online. Another would shift appointing responsibility from the governor to the mayor in cases where the city council doesn’t appoint a person in a timely manner. The third would place the city’s human resources director fully under the city’s civil service system. Currently, HR Director Gretchen McKinney’s position is half civil service and half mayoral appointment.
Each of the three proposed charter amendments garnered at least 62 percent approval.
The rededication of a 1-cent sales tax — due to expire in 2019 — will make half of the tax revenue available to be used in the city’s general fund, which pays for police, employee salaries and the like. The tax is expected to bring about $4.6 million per year into the city’s coffers, and is currently dedicated to roads, drainage and sewers. Nearly 55 percent about 4,000 voters approved the measure.
Voters in two St. Tammany Parish road lighting districts — nos. 9 and 10 — were also being asked to approve a $50 service charges for 10 years. The proposal for District No. 9 deadlocked with yes and no each garnering 1,229 votes. In District No. 10, however, the measure passed 17-12.
Follow Faimon A. Roberts III on Twitter @faimon.