jimmy watson

Walker Mayor Jimmy Watson asked the City Council on Monday to amend the city ordinance on occupational licenses to clarify how a license can be suspended or revoked and the options available to the license holder. The council passed the amendments 4-0.

WALKER – How a city occupational license can be suspended or revoked and the options available to the license holder were clarified by the Walker City Council.

The City Council voted to amend Section 11-22 of the ordinance dealing with occupational licenses, specifically suspension, revocation and reapplication.

Parts of the ordinance are outdated, City Attorney Bobby King said, and the ordinance has not been amended since the early 1980s.

“As we grow, we need to be sure our ordinances are updated,” King said.

The current ordinance says for an occupational license to be suspended or revoked, the license holder must be convicted of keeping disorderly place, he said.

The amendment approved allows the City Council to suspend or revoke a license based on a finding that an entity in engaging in conduct in violation of local or state statutes, King said.

The person holding the license will be notified of the “prohibited conduct that serves as the basis for suspension or revocation,” notified of the date and place when and where the conduct occurred and notified of the “recommended corrective action or penalty and date it is imposed,” according to the ordinance.

The license holder will have an opportunity to appear before the mayor for a “due process conference” to review the charges and offer information to refute the charges and can request to be heard by the mayor and City Council.

For a first offense, the penalty may range from a warning to revocation of the license.

For a second offense, the penalty may range from a suspension to revocation of the license.

For a third offense, the penalty may range from a suspension for a minimum of six months to revocation.

If the license is revoked by a vote of the City Council, the person holding the license must wait a year before reapplying.

In the second public hearing, the City Council amended the animal control ordinance concerning animal adoption and altering animals.

The amendment removes the section saying if the owner of an animal is known, the animal cannot be adopted out without the owner’s permission.

Council member Scarlett Milton Major said many times after the owner is located, they do not respond to requests from the animal shelter about adoption.

Another section of the ordinance also is removed, which gave people who adopted an animal up to 30 days after the adoption to have their new pet spayed or neutered.

The animal shelter takes care of this before any animal is adopted out, she said.

In the third public hearing, the council amended the city budget to buy a new excavator for the Gas Department at a cost of $34,150. 

Etheridge said an excavator needed repairs between $11,000 to $12,000.

“Even after the repairs, the vehicle is not worth the money you just put into it, he said.

In other business, an ordinance was introduced with a public hearing to be held to support the creation of a fire prevention bureau for Livingston Parish Fire Protection District 4 (FD4).

Louisiana R.S. 40:1563 says a local governing authority may establish a fire prevention bureau to carry out certain duties of the state fire marshal, including the inspection of all structures, except one- and two-family dwellings and movables, for the purpose of reducing or eliminating fire hazards.

The new bureau can earn points toward a system that could reduce insurance rates.

FD4 has 10 fire stations covering Walker, unincorporated Denham Springs and Watson.

The mayor also announced there would be a special council meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, June 24, to go over the city audit report.

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