Bogalusa resident Bob Nielson spoke to the Bogalusa City Council Tuesday (July 20, 2021) regarding the establishment of halfway houses in residential areas (See the video beginning at 15:35). Persons completing drug rehab are apparently being transitioned to halfway houses. It was pointed out that the success rate of rehab is 30%. Concerns are that the remaining 70% causes drug users, many with criminal records, being relocated to residential areas. Nielson requested the Council to put an immediate stop to placement of halfway houses in residential areas. Councilman Kellis responded that the Council was already looking into the issue and consulting their legal counsel. Other Council Members later commented on the issue, including comments by Councilwoman Kates who related information from the Bogalusa Police Department that they had recently responded to incidents involving a halfway house already in operation. Those incidents included unwanted patients who needed to move on (10), disturbing the peace (6), medical assistance needed (4) and theft (1). Resident Benjamin Lewis spoke of the need for halfway houses.
In other business, the Council held Public Hearings and approved three ordinances.
- an ordinance to approve the Planning and Zoning request to rezone from A-2 Residential to B- Transition for Dr. Keisha Harvey at 311 Alabama Avenue
- an ordinance authorizing the Mayor to enter into a Fourth Lease Extension and Amendment with International Paper Company
- an ordinance authorizing the Mayor to enter into a contract with Revised Proposal for the City of Bogalusa Website.
Mayor Wendy Perrette submitted three names, all of whom were approved by the Council, to serve on the Planning and Zoning Commission. They were Patricia Holmes, Justin Arnold, and Shelby Scianna. Perrette also commended three officers for their efforts recently in saving a woman in a submerged vehicle: Police Officer Brandon McBride along with Taylor Williams and Dustin Stringer of the Bogalusa Fire Department. Following further comments from the Mayor and Council Discussion, the meeting adjourned.
The next Council Meeting will be held Tuesday, August 3, 2021 at 5:30 p.m.