Council Preview: Can the councils hire an attorney? Who pays for consolidation? 

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
Administrative costs

Tax dollars are stored across dozens of funds at LCG, but the city and parish general funds handle most day-to-day operations of local government, meaning the other funds reimburse them for administrative costs each year to the tune of $3.9 million for the city and $418,000 for the parish.

Parish Council

Final Adoption

Library board. After canceling a change that would have put a Parish Council member on the controversial Library Board, the council will vote on PO-34 Tuesday, which eliminates Mayor-President Josh Guillory’s appointment to the board, lowering its membership from eight to seven. Guillory has had to replace several of his appointments to the board, who must be LCG employees, as the body has endured sustained controversy. His appointees have at times reined in the board’s more conservative members, including his most recent appointment, Marquise Watson, who helped make the library’s new restricted access cards for children to be opt in rather than opt out at her first meeting in February.

Jail land. The Parish Council will also vote Tuesday to spend another $400,000 on land for a new parish jail on Willow Street after first introducing the additional funding at a special meeting on May 23 that was not well publicized because of technical issues. The funds come in addition to $750,000 already budgeted to buy two lots amounting to 17 acres, one of which LCG purchased for $560,000 in March. LCG is pursuing a plan that it likely cannot afford to build the new jail, but millions of dollars from the state could make up the difference if the parish’s powerful legislative delegation comes through with the funding during this summer’s session.

Introduction

Money moves. Mayor-President Josh Guillory’s administration is introducing a budget correction to add $72,000 to the parish general fund by reverting $86,000 from the Buchanan Street Garage fund to the parish general fund. The money was originally budgeted for the garage fund to repay the city and parish general funds for administrative costs. That means the city won't get the $76,300 it expected in reimbursements, while the parish general fund would come out ahead by about $76,000 before other administrative cost adjustments brought the total change down to a $72,000 boost. Budget corrections aren’t uncommon, though they usually occur earlier in the spring. LCG’s next budget will be proposed by the administration in July. 

City Council

Reports & Discussion Items

Special counsel. City Council Chair Glenn Lazard is reviving discussion of the council’s ability to hire attorneys for special purposes at Tuesday’s meeting. The revival comes almost three years after Guillory’s City-Parish Attorney Greg Logan shut down the council’s efforts to hire its own attorney and then sued the attorney amid a dispute with the administration. Lazard’s effort also follows a legal tour de force by the administration at the May 23 special meeting over LCG’s fraught audit that saw the administration hire five private attorneys to defend LCG against the council’s auditors for hours at a minimum cost of $4,300.

Final Adoption

$500,000 for Northside recreation. Half a million dollars would be redirected to north Lafayette recreation projects with CO-68, which moves just over $500,000 from the city’s West Willow Street widening project and splits the funds between the pool enclosure project at the Martin Luther King Jr. center ($300,000) and the Moore Park Complex project ($200,000).

$1 million alley. CO-69 reallocates $1 million from LCG’s largely scrapped Digby Avenue Detention Pond project to replace the alley around Courtyard Circle off Cobblestone Road near Fresh Pickins market. Another $185,000 from the Digby project would be reallocated to the Thomas Park Skatepark project.

COVID funds for wellness. An ordinance offered by Councilman Pat Lewis reallocates $150,000 federal COVID-19 funds from LCG’s River Oaks Detention Pond project to the Sun Wellness Center in north Lafayette to help address health issues among marginalized communities.

$50,000 for mental health. An ordinance by Council Chair Glenn Lazard would provide $50,000 in federal COVID-19 funds to Focus Clubhouse, which specializes in adult mental healthcare resources.

Introduction

More money moves. A second budget correction pushed by Guillory’s administration would draw $146,000 from the city general fund and $147,000 from LUS to offset administrative reimbursements canceled under the budget correction. Among the largest lost reimbursements for the city are $76,000 from the parish’s Buchanan Street Garage fund and $119,000 from the city’s roads fund, while LUS would pay the city an additional $130,000 in administrative reimbursements under the change. The result is about a 1% increase in this year’s draw down of the city’s $40 million cash reserves.

Joint Items

Resolutions

Allocation table. The slew of budget corrections pushed by Guillory’s administration come alongside a joint resolution that endorses the administration’s allocation of costs between city and parish tax dollars. The city-parish allocation schedule has occasionally been a point of contention between the two councils, since much of their shared costs are split based on eithers’ ability to pay, which leaves the city footing around 80% of those expenses. Tuesday’s resolution, which lacks legal force, is an unusual extra step because the allocation is approved by the councils in each year’s budget.

Making it official. Lafayette’s councils will vote Tuesday on a resolution naming The Acadiana Advocate as the parish’s official journal, taking the title and a $100,000 contract from The Daily Advertiser, which has long been the parish’s paper of record. The Advertiser has already weathered substantial cuts as its parent company Gannett faces financial straits, and last month saw Executive Editor Barbara Leader leave the paper for a job with The Advocate in Shreveport. The official journal change could spell fatal trouble for Lafayette’s oldest business, as it would move public notice revenue from nearly all of the parish’s government bodies from the Advertiser to The Advocate, making its financial impact far greater than just the $100,000-per-year contract with LCG.

Final Adoption

No significant items.

Introduction

Risk management. A third budget correction would free up $443,000 in the city’s general fund thanks to lower-than-expected uninsured losses so far this year, which covers costs like workers’ compensation, lawsuits and other hard-to-predict expenses. Most of the savings came from the police department, which is frequently involved in lawsuits against the city and car crashes.

Joint money moves. A fourth budget correction from Guillory’s administration makes just one adjustment to the joint city-parish environmental services fund, increasing its administrative costs for this year by $2,439, or about half a percent.

Compost Grinder. The city-parish environmental service fund would be used to buy a new, $1.4 million grinder for LCG’s compost facility on Dugas Road in a plan being introduced Tuesday.

Property

AddressApprovalAction
107 Patton St.Joint councilsSale of adjudication to neighbor
203 Chester St.Joint councilsSale of adjudication to neighbor
323 Portlock St.Joint councilsSale of adjudication to neighbor
210 Encore St.Parish CouncilCondemnation [Intro]
203 Country Run DriveParish CouncilCondemnation [Intro]
203 Celine St.Parish CouncilCondemnation [Intro]
111 Amite DriveParish CouncilCondemnation [Intro]
116 E Vermilion St.City CouncilZoning permit to expand existing bar [Intro]
1103 E. University Ave.City CouncilRezoning from Industrial Heavy (IH) to Mixed-Use Neighborhood (MN-1) [Intro]
116 Drain St.City CouncilCondemnation [Intro]
Planned council actions related to property, such as rezonings, annexations and disposition of adjudicatedproperties

Vacancies

BoardApprovalQualifications
Lafayette Economic Development AuthorityParish CouncilApplicants must be residents of Lafayette Parish
Lafayette Economic Development AuthorityParish CouncilApplicants must be members of a racial minority and residents of Lafayette Parish
Lafayette Economic Development AuthorityCity CouncilApplicants must be residents of Lafayette Parish
Lafayette Economic Development AuthorityCity CouncilApplicants must be members of a racial minority and residents of Lafayette Parish
Evangeline Thruway Redevelopment TeamCity CouncilNone listed
Email resumes to [email protected] no later than noon, Tuesday, June 20.

Appointments

BoardApprovalApplicants
Mayor-President's Awareness Committee for Citizens with DisabilitiesMayor-PresidentCourtney Laviolette
Board of Zoning AdjustmentCity CouncilGarland P. Pennison and Delaney Meaux Larson
Downtown Development AuthorityCity CouncilNathanael Johnson