3/22/22 Council Preview: $2 million for disputed Bayou Vermilion Flood Control; LCG eyes two more quick takes

Correction: The disputed value of outstanding invoices owed to the Municipal Employees Retirement System of Louisiana is $3 million, not $4.6 million as reported earlier.

Here is a selection of items on the agendas for this week’s meetings of the City and Parish councils. To see the full agendas, check out the links below. 

Lafayette 101: Public Pensions. Retirement is a major cost for Lafayette Consolidated Government. In all, LCG spends about $25 million in employer contributions to six different public employee retirement systems for police officers, firefighters and other city and parish workers.

Parish Council

Final Adoption

Seven tanker trucks. This ordinance would increase spending to purchase seven tanker trucks for volunteer fire departments in Lafayette Parish. The Parish Council approved spending $2.8 million of ARPA funds for this purpose back in October. This budget amendment would increase that amount by $160,000.

Bayou Vermilion Flood Control. This ordinance would increase ARPA funding for this multi-tiered drainage project by $2 million. Bayou Vermilion Flood Control includes the Homewood Regional Detention Pond, which is now tied up in court, and the Vermilion River spoil banks removal project, which is headed to court.

Parish courthouse repairs. This ordinance will recognize $4.5 million in reimbursement revenue from the state government for renovations to the Lafayette Parish Courthouse.

City Council

Final Adoption

Pay raises. This ordinance will increase pay for two City Court employees. This ordinance will increase pay for the Electrical Engineer II position at LUS Fiber.

Declaring the Gerald Drive Coulee a public necessity. This ordinance would give the mayor-president the authority to acquire or expropriate land to install subsurface drainage in an existing ditch between Gerald Drive and Robley Drive.

$2.4 million for the Heymann Center. This ordinance recognizes $2.4 million in revenue from the receipt of a Shuttered Venture Operating Grant from the Small Business Administration.

Introduction

Two more “public necessity” declarations for drainage. This ordinance would declare the Nottingham Drainage Improvements Project — located near Moss Street and E. Gloria Switch Road — a public necessity. This ordinance would declare the Downtown Drainage Improvements Project — located at the old BellSouth building at 1001 Jefferson St. — a public necessity. Public necessity declarations create the legal grounds for LCG’s practice of “quick take” expropriation, which is being disputed in two court cases.

Joint Items

Final Adoption

Partnering with LPSS to use recreational facilities. This ordinance would authorize the mayor-president to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with the Lafayette Parish School Board for joint use of recreational facilities.

$1.6 million in late payments. This ordinance will pay $1.6 million to the Municipal Employment Retirement System of Louisiana to cover LCG’s withdrawal from that retirement program. New public employees are now enrolled in the Parochial Employees Retirement System. LCG is disputing $3 million in MERS invoices. 

$2.6 million from the state for drainage. This ordinance will accept funding from the state with $887,271 of local match. Half of this state money will be used to construct a drainage pond near the Oak Springs Subdivision. The rest will be used to acquire or elevate properties that flood regularly.

Updates to the Lafayette Development Code. This ordinance will ratify a series of changes to Lafayette’s land use codes by both the City and Parish Zoning Commissions. Among the changes are new definitions for multi-family housing and the creation of two new zoning classes: Public/Institutional Light and Public/Institutional Heavy. A redlined version of the changes to the LDC can be found here.

Property

Below is a table collecting council actions related to property, such as rezonings, annexations and disposition of adjudicated properties.

AddressApprovalAction
114 Mathews BlvdCity CouncilRezone from RS-1 to CM-1
96 Birch DrCity CouncilRezone from CH with conditions to DH with reduced conditions
527 Evangeline DrCity CouncilRezone from RS-1 to MN-1
West Congress, Parkside Dr to West GarfieldCity CouncilRezone some lots from CH to RM-1, MN-2, CM-2, or D