Council Preview: Guillory investigation launch; $1 million for shelter; property tax rates

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
Investigations

The charter gives council members broad powers to investigate or audit the administration. During investigations, the councils can subpoena witnesses and question them under oath. Unlike ordinances in general, ordinances launching an investigation cannot be vetoed.

Parish Council

Final Adoption

Youngsville maintenance agreement. This ordinance authorizes LCG to help maintain roads and drainage infrastructure for the City of Youngsville. Youngsville will reimburse LCG.

Roundabouts. This ordinance for the E Broussard Road Roundabout Project and this ordinance for the W Broussard Road Roundabout Project empower the administration to acquire land through purchase or expropriation. The administration proposes spending $2.2 million of parish general fund balance.

Introduction

Property tax rates. This ordinance sets the parish property tax rates for the next fiscal year. Property values have not changed much this year, so the proposed tax rates are mostly the same. This ordinance sets the property tax rate for the Lafayette Airport Commission.

$675,000 for as-needed Parish Drainage Flushing Services. This ordinance appropriates American Rescue Plan Act funding to contract services to flush drainage systems on an as-needed basis.

City Council

Resolutions

Investigation. This resolution initiates an investigation into all city-funded drainage projects from May 1, 2021 to the present date, as well as the “direct or indirect” use of public resources for the mayor-president’s benefit. By charter, the City Council can launch investigations and has subpoena power. This investigation escalates council scrutiny of some problematic drainage projects and spending in the mayor-president’s office.

Final Adoption

$1 million for a homeless shelter. This ordinance appropriates ARPA funds to the Acadiana Regional Coalition on Homelessness and Housing to build a new shelter. It was deferred last month. The mayor-president has proposed spending the last of the city’s ARPA funds on regular capital projects in the upcoming budget, which would have to be cut back if any other ARPA spending is approved this year.

LUS rate increase. This ordinance increases LUS utility rates and implements a time-of-use metering program that incentivizes customers to use electricity during non-peak hours. LUS revised the rate changes to delay electric increases after pushback from the City Council, which regulates LUS.

Power plant retrofit. This ordinance authorizes the mayor-president to execute a Generation Interconnection Agreement as part of a plan to repurpose an unused power plant. LUS is required to execute this agreement by the operator of its transmission network.

$750,000 in ARPA funds for local nonprofits. This ordinance appropriates American Rescue Plan funds to the Acadiana Blank Nurses Association and SUN Wellness Center. To date, the City Council has not appropriated any of its ARPA funds to local nonprofits.

Introduction

$37,000 for Festival Acadiens et Créoles. This ordinance provides additional funding to support the festival this October.

$100,000 to investigate the Executive Branch. This ordinance funds the investigation launched by resolution.

Brown Park Expansion. This ordinance authorizes the mayor-president to acquire, if necessary by expropriation, land adjacent to Brown Park. The City Council has not yet approved full funding for the mayor-president’s proposed park expansion.

Joint Items

Final Adoption

Legalizing BYOB pedal carriages and party buses. This ordinance expands the definition of “premises” for BYOB permits to include vehicles within which drinking occurs.

Distributing HOME and CDBG funds. A variety of ordinances are up for approval to allocate routine federal grants to local nonprofits, including:

AmountSourceNonprofit
$340,000HOMELafayette Habitat for Humanity
$150,000HOMECatholic Charities of Acadiana
$80,000CDBGLafayette Habitat for Humanity
$150,000CDBGCatholic Charities of Acadiana
$75,000CDBGThe Extra Mile
$180,000CDBGAcadianaCares

Food Truck Parks. This ordinance approves various changes recommended by the Parish and City Planning Commissions as well as the City Zoning Commission to regulate Food Truck Parks. A red-lined version of the new LDC is available here.

Introduction

Contract with Broussard to widen Highway 89. This ordinance authorizes the mayor-president to enter an agreement with the City of Broussard to widen Highway 89. Broussard will reimburse $254,000 in costs associated with the portion of this road between Pinhook Road and Ambassador Caffery Parkway.

Vacancies

BoardApprovalQualifications
Library Board of Control Parish CouncilRegistered voter and a resident of Lafayette Parish
Animal Care Center Advisory BoardParish CouncilRegistered voter and a resident of Lafayette Parish
Bayou Vermilion DistrictParish CouncilRegistered voter and a resident of Lafayette Parish
Lafayette Public Trust Financing AuthorityCity CouncilRegistered voter and a resident of Lafayette Parish
Lafayette Airport CommissionCity CouncilRegistered voter and a resident of Lafayette Parish

Appointments

BoardApprovalApplicants
Downtown Management CommitteeCity CouncilVan Auld
Downtown Development Authority City Council (from list of nominations from mayor-president)Marie Centanni
City/Parish Recreation Advisory CommitteeDistrict 3 City Councilmember (Liz Hebert)Larry Lanclos