St. Charles Parish, Louisiana
Saint Charles Parish, Louisiana is one of sixty-four parishes in Louisiana. A parish, in Louisiana, is the equivalent of a county in other states. The parish seat is Hahnville. In 2000, its population was 48,072.
- Main article: Evaluation of Louisiana parish websites
This Web site was reviewed November 24, 2012.
- The most current budget is listed.
- Budgets are archived for 3 years.
- Administrative Officials
- Department heads are listed for each department.
- Contact information for administrative officials is provided including a mailing address, phone number, and personalized email.
- Elected Officials
- Elected officials are listed with a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.
- The most recent audit is posted.
- Audits dating back to 2007 are available.
- Public Records
- The public information officer is identified and maintained by Public Information Officer position. This person provides a mailing address, phone number and personalized email.
- A public records form is provided.
- A fee schedule for documents is provided.
- The Parish discloses it hires lobbyists and the total amount spent on lobbying.
- Permits and zoning
- Zoning ordinances are posted online.
- Permit applications can be downloaded on the site, along with information on how to apply for the permits.
- Meeting minutes are not available and meeting agendas are only archived for 2012.
2009 website upgrade
In January 21, St. Charles Parish officials unveiled a substantial upgrade of the parish website. Renee Allemand Simpson, public information officer for the parish, said, "We've reorganized the site based on what people want to do." Residents are now able to file complaints, download the form needed to speak at a council meeting and get customized e-mail alerts from various departments.
According to the Times-Picayune, more information was also added to the website "partly in response to a review of the parish's old Web site by the Sunshine Review, a Chicago nonprofit that lobbies for more transparency in government." The parish's budget was added, as was audit and other financial information to the site in response to an August 2008 review of the Web sites of Louisiana parishes by Sunshine Review.
St. Charles Parish operates under a Home Rule Charter, which provides for separate legislative and executive branches independent of each other. Legislative matters are handled by an elected nine-member Council, while the elected Parish President serves as administrator.
The Home Rule Charter was an option offered to local governments when the State of Louisiana adopted its new constitution in 1974. It was included in the State Constitution at the insistence of local officials who felt the need to strengthen local governments throughout the state. Prior to this, the Parish operated under the Policy Jury System. Under this system jurors were elected from Wards or Districts. They operated as both Legislators and Administrators, handling day-to-day operations of the Parish. The system was restrictive since Parish Government could exercise only that authority specifically given them by the State Legislature. The Home Rule Charter of St. Charles Parish allows much more flexibility. The Parish has the authority to do anything that is not inconsistent with State Law. St. Charles Parish adopted its Home Rule Charter in 1978, the second Parish in the State to embrace this form of governance. The conversion to home rule was completed in 1980, when the Council and Parish President were installed under the new charter. 
The Council is made up of nine members. Seven are elected from districts and two at-large members are elected Parishwide, with one residing on the East Bank of the Mississippi River and one residing on the West Bank of the Mississippi River. The Council’s principal function is to enact ordinances or laws. However, the Charter also gives them broad additional powers including levying taxes, appropriating funds and fixing penalties for violations of local ordinances. 
Current Council members:
|At Large, Division A||Councilwoman||Carolyn K. Schexnaydre|
|At Large, Division B||Councilman||Terry Authement|
|District I||Councilman||Billy Raymond, Sr.|
|District II||Councilman||Shelley Tastet|
|District III||Councilwoman||Wendy Benedetto|
|District IV||Councilman||Paul J. Hogan|
|District V||Councilman||Larry Cochran|
|District VI||Councilman||Marcus M. Lambert|
|District VII||Councilman||Dennis Nuss|
The daily routine of government is the responsibility of the Parish President, who heads the executive or administrative branch of Parish government. The President carries out the policies developed by the Council and implements the Council’s decisions. He has the responsibility for hiring and firing subject to personnel policies and rules adopted by the Council. Department directors are appointed by the Parish President and must be confirmed by a majority vote of the Council.
The current Parish President is V.J. St. Pierre, Jr.
All programs are handled on a Parishwide basis by departments staffed by professionals. The departments include Community Services, Economic Development and Tourism, Emergency Preparedness, Finance, Legal Services, Planning and Zoning, Parks and Recreation, Public Works and Wastewater, and Waterworks. 
The operating and capital budget funds for 2011 includes revenues and other financing sources of $101 million plus estimated fund balances carried over from 2010 of $65 million and expenditures of $145.9 million. Sales tax collections equal 24% of budgeted revenues, and ad valorem taxes equal 20% for government funds.
- ↑ St. Charles Parish, Budget, Accessed November 24, 2012
- ↑ St. Charles Parish, Staff Directory, Accessed November 24, 2012
- ↑ St. Charles Parish, Elected Officials, Accessed November 24, 2012
- ↑ St. Charles Parish, Meeting Agendas, Accessed: November 24, 2012
- ↑ St. Charles Parish, Meeting Schedule, Accessed: November 24, 2012
- ↑ St. Charles Parish, CAFR, Accessed November 24, 2012
- ↑ St. Charles Parish, Contract bids, Accessed November 24, 2012
- ↑ St. Charles Parish, Bids and Proposals, Accessed November 24, 2012
- ↑ St. Charles Parish, Public Records, Accessed: November 24, 2012
- ↑ St. Charles Parish, Sales Tax, Accessed: November 24, 2012
- ↑ St. Charles Parish, Cost and incentives, Accessed: November 24, 2012
- ↑ [<ref>[http://www.stcharlesparish-la.gov/index.aspx?page=647 ''St. Charles Parish'', Lobbying Information, Accessed: November 24, 2012]</li> <li id="cite_note-12">[[#cite_ref-12|↑]] [http://www.stcharlesparish-la.gov/index.aspx?page=137 ''St. Charles Parish'',Planning and Zoning, Accessed November 24, 2012]</li> <li id="cite_note-TP-13">↑ <sup>[[#cite_ref-TP_13-0|14.0]]</sup> <sup>[[#cite_ref-TP_13-1|14.1]]</sup> [http://www.nola.com/news/t-p/riverparishes/index.ssf?/base/news-5/123260602747140.xml&coll=1 ''New Orleans Times-Picayune'', "St. Charles re-designs website", January 22, 2009]</li> <li id="cite_note-govt-14">↑ <sup>[[#cite_ref-govt_14-0|15.0]]</sup> <sup>[[#cite_ref-govt_14-1|15.1]]</sup> <sup>[[#cite_ref-govt_14-2|15.2]]</sup> <sup>[[#cite_ref-govt_14-3|15.3]]</sup> <sup>[[#cite_ref-govt_14-4|15.4]]</sup> [http://www.stcharlesgov.net/index.aspx?page=964 Government Structure]</li> <li id="cite_note-15">[[#cite_ref-15|↑]] [http://www.stcharlesgov.net/index.aspx?page=361 Council Members]</li> <li id="cite_note-16">[[#cite_ref-16|↑]] [http://www.stcharlesparish-la.gov/index.aspx?recordid=6&page=29 Parish President]</li> <li id="cite_note-17">[[#cite_ref-17|↑]] [http://www.stcharlesparish-la.gov/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=2665 2011 budget summary]</li></ol></ref>
- Saint Charles Parish website
- St. Charles Herald Guide, local news.
- St. Charles Parish on ePodunk
- St. Charles Parish Public Schools
- St. Charles Parish Council Office
- Sheriff's Office