News + Notes

5/4 Council Preview: Expenses rise, more drainage projects come to light

Here’s 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. 

City Council

Resolution

Director appointments for Louisiana Energy and Power Authority board. LEPA is a joint action of 19 Louisiana cities that own power systems to dispatch electricity through a computerized Energy Control Center. Jeff Stewart, former interim director of LUS, will be appointed director. Greg Labbe will be appointed alternate director. The appointments last through 2026.

Reports

Budget allocation schedule and awarding contracts. City Councilmember Glenn Lazard requested two separate reports, one on the budget allocation schedule, which determines the share of cost between city and parish dollars, and another on the procedure for awarding government contracts. Budget allocation is one of the stickier problems in consolidation and has come up during Protect the City Committee meetings. 

Final Adoption

LPD declined $149,500 in grant funding for the Lafayette Advocacy for Crime Victims Program. The award was not accepted despite being granted by the U.S. Department of Justice. This ordinance adjusts department revenues to reflect turning down the grant

LUS’s expenses have increased more than $12 million. This ordinance is a budget adjustment to reflect those costs. LUS cites a variety of reasons for the increase, including COVID, hurricanes, increased labor and material costs and a variety of maintenance and improvements. 

LUS wants to declare the Dugas Road Electrical Distribution Systems Project a public necessity. This ordinance would authorize spending $50,000 to acquire land and other property rights to construct this project out past the Wetlands Golf Course.

Introduction

LUS Fiber director’s salary. M-P Josh Guillory selected Ryan Meche to run LUS Fiber, the first-ever full-time Fiber director since the position was split off by former M-P Joel Robideaux. This ordinance will set Meche’s salary at $175,000, almost a 40% increase and serve as the City Council’s rubber stamp on the appointment. Before Fiber and LUS were split, director appointments were required to be approved by the city’s governing authority (now the City Council). The Guillory administration contends it does not need council approval to finalize Meche’s appointment. 

$5.85 million on three drainage projects. This ordinance spends city general fund dollars on three flood management projects: The Malapart Detention Pond and the River Oaks Property Detention Pond, both inside city limits, and the Bayou Vermilion Spoil Bank Removal project, which spills outside parish boundaries. The Bayou Vermilion portion is part of a larger project shared in part with parish government. Drainage is generally considered the responsibility of parish government. But the Guillory administration is requesting the use of city dollars on these projects. In 2018, Youngsville went to the mat with M-P Joel Robideaux over responsibility for drainage maintenance, arguing successfully that the city of Youngsville was not responsible. 

Parish Council

Final Adoption

Declare the Coulee Granges/Ile des Cannes Flood Control Project a public necessity. This project will be located in the southern edge of Lafayette Parish by Goodie Road and will involve a series of detention ponds.

Declare the Coulee Mine East Flood Control Project a public necessity. This project will be located just outside of Carencro by Pelican Park.

Declare the Oak Springs Flood Control Project a public necessity. This project will be located in unincorporated Lafayette west of Carencro. 

Reimburse the city of Youngsville $714,373 to improve Decon Road. The city of Youngsville is embarking on a road project, part of which will be in the city and part in unincorporated Lafayette. As parish government is supposed to be responsible for unincorporated roads, it’s paying for its share of this road project. Parish government is not paying the city of Lafayette for the portion of the Duson Road widening project which is outside of city limits.

Appointments

BoardAppointerAppointee
Lafayette Economic Development AuthorityArea MayorsChad Hanks
Emergency Medical Services Advisory BoardArea MayorsChris John

Introduction 

$4.85 million for three new drainage projects. $1.75 million for the Bayou Vermilion Flood Control. $1.85 million for the Robley Drive Detention Pond. And $1.45 million for the Coulee Granges/Coulee Ile des Cannes Flood Control. This ordinance appropriates those dollars from the $8 million that was rededicated from the library’s fund balance to pay for parishwide drainage, streets, and bridges. 

Joint Council

Final Adoption

$500,000 to overlay asphalts on two of seven miles of rural roads. No specifics of which roads will be getting a makeover is included with the ordinance, which approves a cooperative endeavor agreement with the state. 

Suspend enforcement of certain provisions on Class A restaurant condition permit holders. Citing extraordinary challenges, this ordinance would delay enforcement of penalties until October against any restaurant that’s generating less than half its revenue from food and nonalcoholic beverages. The ordinance grants a reprieve to bars that switched to restaurant permits to stay open during the pandemic. Normally these penalties could include suspension of licenses and/or fines.