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|OPPJ to consider fundraising ordinance|
The Ouachita Parish Police Jury will consider a proposed ordinance to set guidelines for fundraising activities on parish roads.
Police Jury attorney Jay Mitchell will draft the proposed ordinance to present it to the police jury at its July 20 meeting.
The issue of regulating fundraising activities on parish roads first arose last month. Police jury president Shane Smiley informed other jurors he had received numerous complaints about fundraising activities on parish roads.
"This is something that has just escalated with so many different fundraisers being done in parish roadways," Smiley said.
Smiley said there are several reasons people are concerned about fundraising on parish roads. First, people are concerned about the safety of the children involved in these fundraising efforts, Smiley said. He said too often children dart in and out of traffic, and in some cases there is no adult supervision.
"This mainly involves those under the age of 18," Smiley said. "I think most of them are between the ages of 12 and 16. They are darting in and out of traffic."
"I am not trying to hurt anybody's efforts, but I just want us to think about this," Smiley continued. "I think we need to think about it. I continue to get calls about it, and it's not a personal agenda, it's just about the safety of the kids because most of them are unsupervised. They are in high traffic areas, and they're not paying attention to what's going and somebody is going to get struck by an automobile."
Another reason concerns have been raised, according to Smiley, is because most fundraising activities are conducted at the busiest intersections in the parish. That often leads to traffic being backed up along these busy intersections, he said.
According to Mitchell, the police jury has the authority to regulate traffic in parish roads. However, he said many roads in question involve parish roads that turn into state roads.
"But, the police jury's ordinance on parish roads may affect state roads as long as they are not contrary to state law and as long as a parish road is involved," Mitchell said.