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December 04, 2019

Heated Bogalusa Council Meeting Tuesday Evening

The stage was set for a heated Bogalusa Council meeting Tuesday evening (December 3, 2019) and what was expected to happen, did. A Public Hearing was held on the ordinance to facilitate the proposed construction of condominiums in the City. Residents and Council Members spoke in opposition, both to the ordinance and to Fiscal Administrator “Joey” Richard's perceived overreach of his authority. In the end, Richard disagreed with all objections, cast the only vote and approved the ordinance.

The ordinance in question was introduced by Richard at the November 18, 2019 meeting: “AN ORDINANCE to issue a special use permit to American Dream Homes of Washington Parish, LLC for construction of condominiums allowing three (3) to six (6) multi-family units per lot of property located at West 16th and Avenue I and H, specifically Block 28, Lots 1-40, and to provide for related matters.”

The same matter had been considered at a Public Hearing held on October 15, 2019. After input from the public and much discussion, the ordinance was not approved by the Council. However, Fiscal Administrator Richard believed the proposal has merit, asserted his authority, and has reversed the previous decision by the Council.

Objections to the proposed construction included questions on drainage, the need for the housing, lack of a market study, lack of an impact study on the neighborhood and current residents, failure to consider alternate locations, and fears of a dramatic increase in traffic in the quiet neighborhood. The proposal's plan regarding the lease/purchase of the condominiums was also extensively questioned.

Objections were even more heated regarding the Fiscal Administrator's perceived overreach of his authority and his motives for approving a project that the residents and the Council oppose.

Most residents and Council Members apparently expected that the Fiscal Administrator's mandate was to solve the financial woes of the City, primarily concerning the retirement system funding and the Choctaw Landfill debt. They did not expect that the Fiscal Administrator would thwart the will of the people and their elected Council and Mayor in other matters.

The State's Fiscal Review Committee voted on February 18, 2019 to place the City of Bogalusa under Fiscal Administration and on May 31, 2019 William J. “Rusty” Knight appointed Albert J. “Joey” Richard, III as the Fiscal Administrator for the City of Bogalusa, as recommended by the Attorney General and the Louisiana Legislative Auditor.

View video of the meeting below. Also, go to our Government Meetings page and scroll down to the Bogalusa Council meetings. There you will also find video of previous meetings in which the matter of the condominiums is discussed.

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