Here is 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:
Lafayette operates a parish health unit, a sub-agency of the Louisiana Department of Health. The unit provides some basic health services — screenings, immunizations, etc. — at an office on Willow Street. It’s funded through a parishwide property tax that also pays for animal control and mosquito abatement.
While the agenda does not include any reports or discussion items for Tuesday’s meeting, Councilman Kevin Naquin intends to raise questions about the settlement to the lawsuit over its expropriation of land for the Homewood Drive Detention Pond.
Public health on the go. The Guillory administration is proposing a partnership with the Louisiana Department of Health and Ochsner Lafayette General to buy and operate a new mobile health unit. The parish would pony up $500,000 to buy a 38-foot coach bus and turn it into a mobile medical facility for vaccinations, COVID-19 testing, hurricane response and other public health needs. The unit would be operated by Ochsner Lafayette General and overseen by LDH, while LCG would not be party to any continued operating costs after buying the bus.
Clearing ditches. Guillory’s Drainage Department is asking the council for another $420,000 in this year’s budget to pay for ditch clearing around the parish. The funds would come from the parish’s drainage maintenance fund, which has been decimated in the past two years, falling from $11 million in reserve cash to just $165,000 projected by the end of this fiscal year.
Heymann Center replacement. City Council Chair Glenn Lazard is looking for the next steps in LCG’s recent bid to purchase land to build a replacement for the Heymann Performing Arts & Culture Center. Only UL submitted a potential site in response to LCG’s request for proposals. Guillory has outlined an 11-person scoring committee to review UL’s proposal, which would give himself five appointments, each City Council member one appointment and leave one spot for a LEDA representative.
Digby to Lake Farm detention. This ordinance moves $600,000 from LCG’s Digby Avenue Detention Pond project into its controversial Lake Farm Road Detention Pond, which faced a lengthy court challenge of LCG’s expropriation of the 14-acre lot where the pond was created in 2021.
Tennis court fee hike. Membership fees for the tennis courts at Beaver and Thomas parks would go up significantly under a proposed ordinance. Monthly rates would jump $8.33 (33%) for adults, $6.67 (19%) for families, and $9.17 (46%) for teens and seniors, while annual rates would rise $175 (78%) for adults, $200 (67%) for families, and $175 (100%) for teens and seniors.
LUS Fiber Grants. The City Council is set to formally recognize millions of dollars in state and federal grants won by LUS Fiber to expand its network into rural parts of Acadiana. Fiber is in line for $33.9 million in external funding for the expansion, which stretches into many of Lafayette’s bordering parishes that have put their own funds into the $33.9 million pot to help LUS Fiber reach their communities. Fiber is matching the grants with $1.8 million of in-kind funding in this year’s budget, largely through installation labor.
$1.2 million more for Lake Farm detention. Guillory’s administration is asking the council for another $1.2 million to deepen the Lake Farm Road detention ponds, adding to its earlier request of $600,000. Both requests would remove funding from the Digby Avenue Detention Pond to bolster work at Lake Farm, which was originally projected to cost $3.9 million, though the lengthy litigation and potential land cost stand to inflate that number. During the expropriation trial in 2021, LCG Engineer testified that the ponds’ walls would have to be made taller than originally planned to increase the ponds’ effects. The revised plans also make the ponds two feet deeper than originally conceived.
Councilwoman Nanette Cook said she was told last week by LCG staff that engineers determined digging Lake Farm deeper would have a greater benefit and less cost than digging the Digby Avenue pond.
$6.6 million for LUS. LUS is inline for a $6.6 million grant from the state to improve the South Sewer Treatment Plant. The city-owned utility will have to match those funds with $5 million of its own to improve the plant’s sewage digester and flow handling system, as well as replace its roof.
Playground in Parc San Souci. Downtown Lafayette Unlimited is teaming up with LCG to build a playground in Parc San Souci downtown. Both councils will consider an ordinance allowing Guillory to enter a contract with DLU that would allow the non-profit to fundraise for the facility and install it in the park.
Adjudicated property dispositions. The administration is seeking the councils’ permission to donate five adjudicated properties to non-profit community service groups. The groups are:
- Athletes for Christ Outreach – 126 Hayes St.
- Year Round Open Door Ministries – 212 E Cypress St.
- Beyond the Bus Foundation – 206 California St. and 403 Attakapas Road
- The Coco Tribe of Canneci Tinne – 244 Huval St.
Pinhook turn lanes. LCG is getting $750,000 from the state to add and improve turn lanes on Pinhook Road near its notorious intersection with Bendel Road near South College Road, as well as improve drainage in that area.
Cutting grass. Guillory’s admin is asking the councils to approve $225,000 from the city-parish environmental fund, which is largely funded by trash collection fees, for additional grass cutting services.
Rent aid. LCG is in line for $1.1 million more Emergency Rental Assistance funds from the federal government to bolster its local efforts to keep residents from being evicted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. LCG’s program has been one of the state’s most successful and has repeatedly received millions in unused funds in other communities to help people in the parish stay in their homes.