Council Preview: Celebrating Reggie Thomas and moving money around

The gist: The city, parish and joint council meetings are relatively uneventful this week, though some moves are in the works on the city budget, bond sales and spending CREATE funds on parish parks.

Retiring Deputy Chief Reggie Thomas will be recognized during a ceremonial presentation celebrating his three decades of service to the Lafayette Police Department. Last week, Thomas announced his retirement and plans to run for Lafayette city marshal in the fall.

There’s no proclamation declaring June Pride Month. Cities around the country traditionally declare June as Pride Month, celebrating the LGBTQ+ members of our community. Mayor-President Josh Guillory has already declared that he does not plan on doing this for the city of Lafayette.

The city is moving forward with introducing a variety of bonds sales. Some of these bond sales are to refinance existing bonds at lower interest rates, some are to raise money for normal capital expenditures, and $35 million in bonds could be sold to prop up city finances as COVID-19 dries up local government tax revenue.

There are a bunch of requests to rezone/reclassify/annex property in the city of Lafayette. These are common in any council meeting. Owners often want to change how their properties are zoned or classified to facilitate different types of developments or have their developments join the city of Lafayette. These are worth keeping an eye on, though, as they can affect what gets built in your neighborhood.

The joint council will officially approve using that $850,000 in HUD funding for giving grants to businesses through LEDA. This was already approved two weeks ago at a special emergency meeting; this is just a formality.

There will also be an update on drainage at the joint council meeting. This item was put on the agenda by City Councilwoman Nanette Cook. It will include presentations from the local community group Dredge the Vermilion, the Acadiana Planning Commission and LCG’s drainage department.

We’re starting to see the impact of COVID-19 hit LCG’s budget. The administration is making moves to cut costs and dip into reserves at the same time, reflecting the financial impact of the pandemic. LCG will make two budget amendments that will cut costs but also use $664,000 to make ends meet in capital and operating expenses. A variety of smaller adjustments to other fund balances are also being made.

The biggest change is the removal of most vacant positions. Former Councilman Jared Bellard proposed a similar move last fall but was met with little support. Now Guillory’s administration is making the case that this move has to be made given the budget constraints local government faces.

The parish council will introduce an ordinance for the Prejean Road Box Culvert Project. This ordinance will declare this project a public necessity and authorize the acquisition of rights of way around the intersection of Prejean Road and Coulee Mine, which is on a dead end gravel road just west of Carencro in unincorporated Lafayette.

The parish council will also introduce an ordinance to allocate $150,000 in CREATE funds to make improvements in six parish parks. That’s $25,000 going to each of the following parks:

  • Scott Park
  • Judice Park
  • Carencro Park
  • Arceneaux Park
  • Foster Park
  • Duson Park
About the Author

Geoff Daily created FiberCorps and helped launch the Lafayette General Foundation. He now works as a launch strategist.

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