News + Notes

Council Preview 1/5 — Lafayette surveillance cameras, more CARES Act funding, conditional pay raises for city marshal’s office, board and commission seats

Illustration by Peter DeHart

The gist: After a holiday hiatus, the work of consolidated government resumes with a pair of relatively light agendas. On tap: electing officers, budgeting CARES Act funding and getting answers on a surveillance camera contract awarded to a private firm without council approval. 

Up for discussion: Lafayette surveillance cameras. In December, Mayor-President Josh Guillory awarded a contract to firm Crime Fighters of Louisiana to mount surveillance cameras in city limits and license their use to the Lafayette Police Department. First reported by The Current, the agreement was signed without approval by the City Council, in a possible violation of Lafayette Consolidated Government’s Home Rule Charter. Guillory says he has the authority to sign contracts for items already budgeted, arguing a budget line for maintaining LPD’s existing camera system covers the contract with Crime Fighters. The contract bears no direct charge to Lafayette, but has no apparent restrictions on the use of the data collected by Crime Fighters, which owns the data. Some council members have expressed concerns about the appropriateness of this contract — Crime Fighters does not have a required state license — and the process Guillory followed to approve it. 

Both councils are voting on chairs and vice chairs. It’s the annual ritual of deciding who gets to run the city and parish council meetings respectively. 

$2.64 million to acquire or elevate 13 properties dealing with severe repetitive loss due to flooding. The money comes from the FEMA Flood Mitigation Assistance Program. The ordinance does not specify if the specific projects have been selected yet. This is a joint item. 

$3.25 million from the CARES Act for the Coronavirus Relief Fund. This money will be appropriated across a variety of departments to help offset costs associated with the coronavirus response. This is a joint item. 

The City Council may spend a lot of time in executive session discussing lawsuits. There are four lawsuits on the docket, one from Shana Darby against LCG; another from Antoinette Klump and Glen Klump against Mitchell Johnson, LCG and State Farm Insurance; another from Betty Valmore against Jared Anson Brown, LCG and XYZ Insurance; and another from Harold Arceneaux and Donna Ledet against Jared Anson Brown, LCG and XYZ Insurance. The City Council will adjourn to private quarters to discuss confidential information.

A drive-through restaurant may be coming to 604 Willow St. The City Council is voting to approve its permit at the recommendation of the City Planning and Zoning Committee. The application was submitted by Stirling Properties, but no details were included in the application about what type of a restaurant it will be.

A bunch of properties by campus may be rezoned from “commercial heavy” to “residential mixed.” Residential mixed designations allow both residential and some light retail development. The properties are located south of Johnston Street between Ground Pati and the new Heritage at Cajun Village apartments. 

If you’re in the market for a truck or a mower, keep an eye out for an upcoming LCG surplus auction. It’s common for LCG to auction off surplus supplies, but this one might be of particular interest as it includes a number of old trucks and mowers. You can see the full list here. The joint ordinance authorizes Guillory to auction the items. The actual auction will happen in the weeks ahead. 

Both councils will make a variety of appointments:

BoardAppointerCandidates
Professional Services CommitteeCity CouncilCity Council members
Lafayette Waterworks District South BoardCity CouncilGus Boulanger
Bayou Vermilion DistrictCity CouncilPhyllis Mouton
Lafayette City Planning and Zoning CommissionCity CouncilBrittany DuhonDavid GleasonSteven HebertRebekke MillerBurley Pellerin*
Lafayette Science Museum Advisory BoardCity CouncilMindy DaigleJakeithia PrejeanClancy Ratliff
Lafayette Municipal Civil Service BoardLCG EmployeesKimberly Sinegal
Mayor-President’s Awareness Committee on Citizens with DisabilitiesMayor-PresidentNicole Poiencot
Mayor-President’s Awareness Committee on Citizens with DisabilitiesMayor-PresidentKeely McGibboney
Keep Lafayette BeautifulMayor-PresidentEllie Mae Keefe
Keep Lafayette BeautifulMayor-PresidentValerie McGehee
Keep Lafayette BeautifulMayor-PresidentEmily Svendson 
Professional Services CommitteeParish CouncilParish Council members
Lafayette Parish Planning and Zoning CommissionParish CouncilLance BealBonnie Anderson*
* incumbent

And both councils have a variety of board vacancies to announce:

BoardAppointerQualifications
People’s Safety InitiativeCity CouncilDietician
People’s Safety InitiativeCity CouncilMedical Doctor
Emergency Medical Services Advisory BoardCity and Parish CouncilMinority
Emergency Medical Services Advisory BoardCity and Parish Council
Lafayette Waterworks District South BoardParish CouncilDistrict resident
Lafayette Waterworks District South BoardParish CouncilDistrict resident
Lafayette Parish Waterworks District North BoardParish CouncilDistrict resident
Lafayette Parish Library Board of ControlParish Council

For anyone thinking about applying for one of these positions, here’s the information you need: 

Individuals wishing to submit a résumé for the above volunteer vacancies must be a registered voter and a resident of Lafayette Parish. Yearly ethics training for all appointees is required, as is financial disclosure under certain circumstances. Résumés are to be forwarded to Veronica L. Williams, Clerk of the Council, P.O. Box 4017-C, Lafayette, LA 70502 or emailed to [email protected] no later than noon, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, with appointment(s) to be made at the Feb. 9, 2021, Regular Meeting of the Lafayette City/Parish Council. Resume submissions are public record.