St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister, Parish Council members sworn in _lowres

Staff photo by SCOTT THRELKELD -- Parish President Pat Brister poses for a photo with incoming council members Monday, Jan. 11, 2016, during inauguration ceremonies at the St. Tammany Parish Justice Center in Covington. Brister and 14 district council members were sworn in during a chilly outdoor ceremony. They are, front row, from left: Michael Lorino, Michele Blanchard, Gene Bellisario, Pat Brister, Rykert Toledo Jr., Maureen O'Brien and TJ Smith. Middle row are, from left: Jacob Groby III, Jerry Binder, Richard Tanner, Steve Stefanick and Chris Canulette. Back row, from left: Marty Dean, James Thompson II, and Dennis Sharp.

Failed tax renewals, a leaner budget and staff cuts have left St. Tammany Parish with only three code enforcement officers monitoring the parish, and Terry Hand, special assistant to the parish council, is hoping that a bill recently introduced in the state Legislature will change that.

The resolution, sent to committee on April 8, was introduced by Sen. Jack Donahue, R-Mandeville, at the urging of the parish council.

Hand said the council took inspiration from Caddo Parish, which recently expanded the role of area justices of the peace and local constables. Donahue’s bill would give St. Tammany justices and constables power to enforce ordinances pertaining to nuisance violations and property maintenance.

The resolution would allow St. Tammany justices of the peace to hear cases on the specified issues, and local constables would have the authority to write citations for property standard and nuisance violations.

While the parish's Ward 9 does not have a justice of the peace, the proposed state legislation says that cases under that jurisdiction will be referred to the authority of Slidell City Court.

The St. Tammany Parish Council unanimously passed a resolution on April 4 to urge the state Legislature to pass Donahue’s bill.

“The resolution was passed simply to show the support of the parish council in favor of (the state) adopting and making the changes to the existing legislation,” Hand said. “If this legislation passes, it will be a tremendous assistance to the residents of St. Tammany Parish.”

District 14 Councilman Thomas J. "T.J." Smith said that he is proud of the action the parish is taking.

“This is another example of the parish doing more with less,” Smith said.