Donaldsonville Council introduces special event ordinance

Michael Tortorich
Signs at the entrance of Donaldsonville City Hall have been installed to encourage social distancing.
Photo by Michael Tortorich

The Donaldsonville City Council introduced an ordinance for special event permits during the June 23 meeting held via video conference.

Ordinance 2020-07 will be published in the city’s official journal, The Chief, then a public hearing will be held during the July 14 meeting.

Special events, according to the phrasing of the ordinance, may include both outdoor and indoor events, such as fairs, running events, protests, and demonstrations.

Anyone interested in conducting a special event “shall first apply to the city for a permit at least 15 days before the date on which the event is to be conducted…”

City attorney Charles “Chuck” Long said the ordinance would allow enough time between regularly-scheduled meetings for the council to decide on the approval of the permit.

Shentelle Daigle, who spoke during the online meeting, said she has been planning a protest in the city. She said exact plans were not set as of the time of the meeting. 

“I’m just trying to get a feel for how to safeguard everybody,” Daigle said.

In other matters before the council:

-- A public hearing will be held during the July 14 meeting to consider rolling forward millage rates not to exceed the prior year’s maximum. 

The estimated amount of tax revenues to be collected in the next year from the millage is $325,827. The amount of increase attributable to the millage increase is $8,854.

-- Finance director Sandra Cost Williams gave an update on sales tax collections to the council.

She said she recently attended a meeting in Gonzales with the Ascension Parish Sales Tax Authority.

While other municipalities within the parish have seen dwindling sales tax collections during the coronavirus pandemic, Donaldsonville’s figures have been up. Williams credited strong retail sales for spurring the collections during April.

Mayor Leroy Sullivan offered as a note of clarification, saying that the city collects 2.5 percent within the total of sales taxes collected. The current rates within west Ascension Parish are: 5 percent within Donaldsonville, 6 percent within the Donaldsonville Annex (the business area anchored by the Walmart store), and 4.5 percent outside of Donaldsonville. The Louisiana sales tax rate remains set at 4.45 percent.

-- Members of the council discussed city-owned property located between the new fire station and Hancock Whitney Bank along Marchand Drive.

Mayor Sullivan said there has been interest expressed in the property from potential buyers.

“I’m against selling it,” Council chairman Raymond Aucoin said. “You never know when you will need it.”

The other council members agreed that the land would prove useful to the city’s fire department in the future.

-- The council approved entering into a contract with Curtis Environmental Services for wastewater services. 

City employees have been assigned to wastewater testing in the past. Sullivan said it took the employees away from other work as they would drive to Baton Rouge for the testing.

-- The council agreed to appoint Vince Cataldo to the Civil Service Board.

-- Council members approved renewing an ongoing agreement with the state Department of Transportation and Development to handle a portion of grass cutting.

-- Every Tuesday and Thursday at 2 p.m., Mayor Sullivan has been broadcasting live coronavirus updates to the city’s Facebook page at

Also, he has been broadcasting Wednesdays and Fridays at 9 a.m. on KKAY 1590 AM and KBRS 106.9 FM. Rebroadcasts air at 6 p.m.

“We have noticed more foot traffic in City Hall lately,” Sullivan said during the Thursday broadcast. “While we know many people like to do their business face to face, almost all of the city’s business can be done online or on the phone with our staff.”

In addition to online service and the night drop box, the City of Donaldsonville now accepts gas and sewer bills by phone at (866) 286-3137. There is a $1.25 fee to utilize the phone service.

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