This is the question many are pondering since Madisonville’s population is just over 800 residence. According to Louisiana Lawrason Act in order to be considered a town you must have 1,001 inhabitants.
In a report issued this week by the state legislative auditor it states, “Because Madisonville had only 748 residents as of the 2010 federal census, it appears that it should be classified as a ‘village’ under its charter.”
This is a serious issue posed on the town as it even says in Madisonville’s own charter that the governor must be notified of a change in the town’s population. There will be several recommendations the town must follow from changes to the number of town board members to refining policies.
Many residents and leaders alike are not happy with the change in board members from the current five to three.
“I kind of like five people,” Brad Haddox, who serves on the Town Council said. “That’s five different considerations. … With more varied people, you have more varied viewpoints.”
How did this oversight occur? According to Haddox it was an innocent oversight. The Madisonville Charter list many governmental responsibilities that just don’t apply to today. Examples include regulating taxes on corn doctors, pet bear exhibitors, exhibitions for pay, fortune tellers, ten pin alleys etc.
Madisonville has only had a population of at least 1,001 residents in two U.S. Census reports. One in 1910 with 1,028 inhabitants and in 1920 there were 1,103 residents. Since then the town has seen a drop with the lowest population in 1990 at 659. Currently the population sits at an estimate of 831 residents.
“I don’t think we’ve been at 1,000 for 40 or 50 years,” said Mayor Jean Pelloat.
As of February 1, 2019, Governor John Bel Edwards has been notified via letter of the town’s current population. Madisonville also sent a copy of the town’s charter and additional information the Governor requested to review.
The Mayor and town officials are waiting to hear back on his decision.
As for the name town or village, many residents believe a label does not define a community.
“We are such a small town,” said Stephen Marcus, president of the Madisonville Chamber of Commerce. “We’re in a pretty small area; we kind of call ourselves a tiny little village … there’s no stigma.”
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