St. Bernard Parish voters will decide Dec. 6 on a proposed amendment to the parish’s home rule charter that would clarify a 5-year-old provision that appears to require Parish Council members to sit on the sidelines for a year after leaving office before they can run for another council seat or the parish’s top post.

They also will cast ballots on a long list of property tax millage requests, mostly renewals.

Council members spent much of the summer debating the merits of the initial 2009 charter change, which 71 percent of voters agreed with. That change said that “a council member shall hold no other elected public office, or any compensated appointive office or employment of the parish government or compensated office of any state political subdivisions until one year after leaving office. Appointments to boards and commissions are allowed as long as said appointments are not compensated.”

In recent months, local officials have been divided over the first sentence’s wording, with some saying that it limits sitting council members from running either for parish president or for other council seats, such as a district member seeking an at-large post, unless they resign from the council at least a year before their new position would begin. Most agree that was not the intention of the 2009 amendment.

The change proposed on the Dec. 6 ballot specifies that council members cannot hold another elected office “during the term for which (he or she was) elected to the council” and can hold no appointed office until one year after stepping down.

The revision was proposed by Parish Council Chairman Guy McInnis, who is considering running for parish president next year. Former councilmen Tony “Ricky” Melerine and Wayne Landry also have expressed interest in facing off against incumbent President David Peralta, if Peralta runs for re-election, as he has promised.

The amendment is one item on a long ballot for parish voters that also includes renewals of millages that pay for a variety of public services, including fire protection, garbage, libraries, recreation and road maintenance.

In addition, a new 3-mill property tax would generate an estimated $917,000 annually for a decade, starting next year, to pay for lights on streets, roads, highways, alleys and public places. That millage would replace an existing 1.23-mill property tax that was authorized through 2016.

Another proposition would renew for another decade an existing 0.62-mill property tax authorized in 2006 — generating an estimated $192,000 annually — and redirect the money for building and maintaining public health units in the parish, and/or providing money for the Coroner’s Office, including maintaining facilities and equipment.

The remaining millages are up for renewal are as follows:

  • Fire Protection District No. 1 — Proposition No. 1: to renew a 2.73-mill property tax, generating an estimated $670,000 per year, to cover the cost of maintaining and operating fire protection facilities and obtaining water for firefighting, including charges for fire hydrant rentals and services. The 10-year renewal would begin in 2017.
  • Fire Protection District No. 1 — Proposition No. 2: to renew a 4.60-mill property tax, generating an estimated $1.1 million per year, to pay for acquiring, constructing, maintaining, improving and operating firefighting facilities and buying fire trucks and other equipment. The 10-year renewal would begin in 2019.
  • Fire Protection District No. 2: to renew an 8.14-mill property tax, generating an estimated $519,000 per year, to pay for acquiring, constructing, maintaining, improving and operating firefighting facilities and buying fire trucks and other equipment. The 10-year renewal would begin in 2019.
  • Parishwide: Garbage District No. 1: to renew a 3.05-mill property tax, generating an estimated $945,000 per year, to pay for providing and maintaining garbage collection and disposal services. The 10-year renewal would begin in 2017.
  • Parishwide: Proposition No. 1 (Libraries): to renew a 1.23-mill property tax, generating an estimated $381,000 per year, to pay for constructing, maintaining, improving and operating public libraries. The 10-year renewal would begin in 2017.
  • Parishwide: Proposition No. 2 (Libraries): to renew a 2.47-mill property tax, generating an estimated $765,000 per year, to pay for constructing, maintaining, improving and operating public libraries in the parish and for purchasing books and other materials. The 10-year renewal would begin in 2020.
  • Parishwide: Proposition No. 3 (Recreation): to renew a 2.17-mill property tax, generating an estimated $672,000 per year, to pay for acquiring or improving lands, building and equipment for recreation purposes and maintaining and operating such recreation facilities. The 10-year renewal would begin in 2017.
  • Parishwide: Proposition No. 5 (Council on Aging): to renew a 0.94-mill property tax, generating an estimated $291,000 per year, to pay for senior citizens programs, activities and services operated by the parish and/or the St. Bernard Parish Council on Aging. The 10-year renewal would begin in 2017.
  • Parishwide: Road District No. 1: to renew a 3.05-mill property tax, generating an estimated $945,000 per year, to pay for constructing, improving and maintaining public roads and highways. The 10-year renewal would begin in 2017.

Follow Richard Thompson on Twitter, @rthompsonMSY.