Council preview: Power struggle between city council and mayor-president; tax and budget lessons

Illustration by Peter DeHart

The gist: This week’s agenda is notable for what’s not on it. The council has blocked from the agenda the mayor-president’s bid to repeal five special taxing districts created in February. Other legislation takes aim at the mayor-president’s authority over council procedures and proclamations. The kumbaya between the new administration and new councils appears to be fading.

Not on the agenda. Mayor-President Josh Guillory has waged a full-throated assault on the merits of the taxing districts — called economic development districts or EDDs — which will increase taxes on sales and hotel receipts in five parts of the city of Lafayette to spur development in those areas. Guillory attempted to put an ordinance on this council agenda rescinding these EDDs, but he was denied by City Council Chairman Pat Lewis, who supports the EDDs. Guillory has responded by taking his complaints to the public on his weekly radio appearances and encouraging the public to call their council members to file complaints. 

Who controls proclamations. City Councilman Glenn Lazard authored a resolution that asserts the council’s authority over how proclamations get made. In rules adopted by the city and the parish councils, only the mayor-president would have the authority to issue proclamations, monthly recognitions and ceremonial presentations, a rule suggested by Councilwoman Liz Heber for the sake of speeding meetings along. Lazard’s resolution would undo those rules. This could set the stage for how the council and administration take up issues like last year’s push by the LGBTQ+ community to formally recognize Pride Month. In an interview with The Current, Guillory said he would not support a Pride Month resolution, calling it an unproductive and divisive conversation.

The city council will be voting on a variety of items related to development, including:

  • Approving water and sewer service outside city limits to 3014 Verot School Road
  • Reclassifying 126 Fountain Bend from commercial heavy (CH) to commercial mixed (CM-1)
  • Reclassifying 1101 East Pont Des Mouton Road, from residential single family (RS-1) to mixed-use neighborhood (MN-1)
  • Annexing the Audubon Lakes Subdivision
  • Annexing 411 Crestlawn Drive
  • Approving a conditional alcohol permit for 417 Jefferson St., the new location for Grouse Room

The city council is also being asked to dip further into its general fund by the Police Department. Interim Police Chief Scott Morgan is requesting an additional $144,400 to pay for promotions.

There will be two presentations about the basics of how LCG funds itself. The first will be a parish council presentation about the millages that pay for the public health unit, the animal shelter, mosquito abatement and CREATE. The second will be a joint council presentation titled “Millages: The Basics.”

There are two board vacancies being announced. The city council has a vacancy on the Alarm Review Board, which must be filled by a minority city resident. The parish council has a vacancy on the Airport Commission.

Two new members of LCG’s professional services committee will be confirmed. Andy Naquin from the City Council and Bryan Tabor from the Parish Council.

The joint councils will vote to approve a shift from the MERS to PERS retirement systems. This change will only affect LCG employees hired after November of this year and won’t affect police or fire.