The Informer: Different roles, responsibilities for police juries, city councils

Published 7:38 am Wednesday, May 31, 2023

How do the roles of the police jury and city council differ?

Thirty-eight of Louisiana’s 64 parishes operate under the police jury form of government.

The parish governments within Louisiana exercise more than 50 different functions and powers — including road and bridge construction and maintenance, drainage, sewerage, solid waste disposal, fire protection, recreations and parks, parish prison construction and maintenance, road lighting and marking, water works, health units, etc. They also house and maintain the courts and the offices of the assessor, coroner, clerk of court, registrar of voters, district attorney and the sheriff, according to the Louisiana Police Jury Association.

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“They promote economic development and tourism in their parishes, regulate various business activities and administer numerous state and federal programs on the parish level,” the association’s website reads.

The police jury may have no fewer than five members nor more than 15 members — or the number the jury was authorized to have before 1974, if larger. A parish with a population of less than 10,000 may have as few as three members.

Elected police jurors serve four-year terms.

Calcasieu operates under a police jury government while the city’s within Calcasieu — such as Lake Charles, Sulphur, Westlake, DeQuincy, Vinton and Iowa — have their own governing councils, as well.

Under a city council form of government, the mayor is the chief executive and the council members are the legislative body. This system is modeled after the Federal Constitution structure of government.

The mayor is elected by residents separately from the council and serves a four-year term. The position is full-time and paid. The mayor’s authority includes proposing the annual city budget, appointing city department directors, exercising veto authority, and managing the day-to-day operations of the city.

The city council exercises the legislative powers of city government, including adopting the annual city budget, ordinances and resolutions; setting appropriate tax levies; establishing sewer and water rates, setting other general tax and service rates; and setting the council agenda. Other responsibilities for city council members include introducing legislation, setting city policy, and giving advice and consent on appointments made by the mayor to city boards, commissions and departments.

Council members serve four-year terms, work for the city part-time, and are paid. Each council member represents one of their city’s geographical council districts of similar population size. Lake Charles has seven city council members.


Are there plans to widen Country Club Rd.?  If so, when and to how many lanes?

There are no plans to widen at this time, said John Guidroz, public information officer for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.

Informer is written by Crystal Stevenson, American Press executive editor. To ask a question, call 494-4098 and leave voice mail, or email