News + Notes

7/6 Council Preview: City Parish Alignment committee; restoring funds for AcA and Festival International; appropriating parish ARPA funds

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

Executive Session

LCG’s suit against the attorney contracted by the City Council. The administration and City Council will go into executive session for an update on the suit filed against Lea Anne Batson, the attorney council members tried to hire last year to advise them in a dispute with the administration. Mayor-President Josh Guillory and City-Parish Attorney Greg Logan responded by filing a lawsuit against Batson in October

Final Adoption

$100,000 to the Acadiana Center for the Arts. The funds will pay for 2.5 positions: an office manager, a general manager and a part-time bookkeeper. Adding $100,000 restores the city’s subsidy of AcA to around $360,000, which is where it was a few years ago before a series of cuts were made. 

$100,000 to Festival International de Louisiana. The funds will “protect the sanctity of Festival International in Downtown Lafayette.” This $100,000 represents a part of a larger funding commitment to help secure Festival’s presence Downtown into the future. Included in this ordinance is a very detailed plan for an ongoing baseline subsidy, an incentive allocation based on sales tax collections Downtown in April and capital spending for improvements to Parc International and Parc Sans Souci.

Lease agreement with Ochsner Lafayette General for a new parking garage. The deal will enable OLG to build a new four-story parking garage on the lot between Heymann Memorial Park and Pasa Place. OLG will pay to build the garage and lease the land from the city for a minimum of $129,600 per year, while the city can use the garage for the Heymann Center. 

Pole attachment agreement with Cox for wireless facilities. Other cable companies have been getting into offering wireless Internet services, though Cox has yet to announce its plans.

Parish Council

Resolution

To create the City-Parish Alignment Commission. This response to the City Council’s Protect the City Committee has already stirred up a great deal of controversy, spurring City Councilman Pat Lewis to say that the Parish Council wants to “oppress” the City Council. The CPA Commission includes just one appointment from the City Council, but as currently proposed will spend a lot of time diving into city-only issues like LUS and LUS Fiber and how to spend city tax dollars.

Final Adoption

Increasing the parish’s share of the allocation plan by $68,133. This time last year an increase in expenses like this could have wiped out the parish’s general fund balance. Thankfully, a better-than-expected last fiscal year combined with the federal recovery bonanza makes an expense like this trivial. 

Introduction

Declaring the Willow Street Correctional Facility Project a public necessity. This authorizes the Mayor-President to start acquiring rights of way, immovable property and other property rights to aid the construction of this project. Details of what this project will entail have not yet been announced.

Accepting and appropriating $23.7 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds into the Community Development Department. This is the first half of the parish’s $47.4 million we explored in this June 28 column. The administration has proposed appropriating all the funds to the Community Development Department and authorizing the Mayor-President to decide how to dole this money out.

How do you think Lafayette should spend its ARPA funds?

Joint Items

Resolutions

Adopting the Lafayette Parish Hazard Mitigation Plan 2021. This updates previous plans and involves a variety of strategies to mitigate the risks of various natural disasters in Lafayette Parish. Read the plan here.

Final Adoption

New regulations on unauthorized use of dumpsters. This ordinance will add new rules to punish unauthorized use of dumpsters, including a $200 fine and six (seven-hour) days of community service picking up litter for a first offense, $300 and 10 (seven-hour) days for a second offense, and $500 and 20 (seven-hour) days for a third offense and beyond.

Properties up for final vote

AddressAction
2830 Louisiana Ave.Non-warranty cash sale to adjoining landowner
222 Spring St.Non-warranty cash sale to adjoining landowner
118, 119, & 120 Rue RoyaleNon-warranty donation

Boards and Commissions: Vacancies

BoardApprovalQualifications
Downtown Development Authority Board (2x)City CouncilMust own property or operate or be an officer in a downtown business 
Mayor-President’s Awareness Committee for Citizens with DisabilitiesCity CouncilRésumé must be submitted by nonprofits working with disabled residents in Lafayette Parish
Lafayette Waterworks District SouthParish CouncilMust be a district resident

Boards and Commissions: Appointments

BoardApprovalApplicants
Keep Lafayette Beautiful BoardCity CouncilBrianne Hendricks
Bayou Vermilion District CommissionCity CouncilClaire Darby, Karen Hail, Rebekke Miller
Fire & Police Civil Service BoardCity CouncilChristina Olivier
Waterworks District South BoardParish CouncilLeslie Leblanc
Animal Care Center Advisory Board (2x)Parish CouncilKelly Buras, Gregory Schmidt