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:
Midyear budget amendments
While Lafayette Consolidated Government’s budget is adopted annually, the budget actually changes throughout the year. The City and Parish councils routinely pass budget amendments that adjust both revenues and expenses for government services.
Cuts to Bayou Vermilion Flood Control funding. Three parish ordinances set for final votes Wednesday would remove a total of $3.9 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funding from Lafayette’s embattled Bayou Vermilion Flood Control Project, while replacing only $2 million of that revenue. The funding shifts come more than six months after the Guillory administration learned that ARPA funds could not be used for BVFC because its process for awarding the contract to build the project was not competitive enough to meet federal procurement standards. The flood-control project was awarded to Rigid Constructors via a construction management at risk process.
- PO-2 takes $400,000 from BVFC for the Gayle Road Reconstruction project.
- PO-3 moves $1.5 million from BVFC to the Louisiana Avenue Extension Drainage project.
- PO-4 swaps $2 million from a handful of local road and drainage projects to replace ARPA funds in BVFC.
Some $30 million in reimbursements from the state government is being withheld pending the legislative auditor’s investigation of LCG.
Cuts to Bayou Vermilion Flood Control will continue with PO-7, which moves $500,000 of parish ARPA funds from BVFC into a new project to replace a well in Water District North. The move would not replace funding for BVFC, lowering parish government’s appropriation for the project to $13.1 million. At least $50 million is estimated to have already been spent on the project.
More money for LCG’s long-awaited drainage plan. PO-8 transfers $250,000 from the parish’s Stormwater Management Fund to the budget for LCG’s long-awaited Comprehensive Drainage Plan. The plan, which was bid out to CSRS in Baton Rouge, has been in the works since early 2021 and was already budgeted to cost at least $500,000 in city tax dollars. As of Monday, LCG had not fulfilled a public records request issued Jan. 6 for a copy of the plan and any drafts.
River Ranch utility dispute. The City Council will meet behind closed doors to discuss litigation strategy with city-parish attorneys in a lawsuit brought against homeowners by LCG in May 2021 over utility servitudes at a residence in River Ranch.
Moss Street bar waiver. The council is set to vote on CR-2, which would grant a waiver of the requirement that bars not be located within 300 feet of a daycare for an existing bar on Moss Street.
$1 million removed from spot dredging project. Ordinance CO-8 diverts $1 million from the city’s $5 million budget to spot dredge the Vermilion River to replace the roof of the Fire Department’s training center. The spot dredge project had spent just under $1.2 million on clearing small debris from the river as of November.
Space for veteran services. Ordinance CO-6 authorizes the mayor-president to enter an agreement with local veterans groups allowing them to use the vacant fire station at the corner of Simcoe Street and Evangeline Drive to provide support services for veterans.
LUS upgrades and customer service building. Ordinance CO-10 authorizes LUS to spend $8.6 million ($700,000 in cash, $7.9 million in debt) on a number of projects, including renovations to existing facilities, upgrades to streetlights and water meters, plus the acquisition of a new customer service building.
Four corners gas station. The City Council will weigh in on a development dispute after neighbors pushed the City Planning Commission in December to nix efforts to redevelop the closed Chase bank location at the corner of University Avenue and Jeanne Street over concerns that a convenience store and gas station would be built there.
ARPA swaps. CO-12 would swap $360,000 worth of city parks and recreation projects between the city’s ARPA funds and local tax dollars, without changing how much of each funding source is spent.
Mardi Gras ends at midnight. Approval from both councils will be needed to enact the Guillory administration’s proposal to close bars in the city and unincorporated parts of the parish at 12 a.m. on Ash Wednesday, putting a halt to Mardi Gras bar activity at midnight.
The proposal has met mixed response, with bar owners complaining that it will hurt sales and the administration arguing that it will improve public safety. Bars are currently allowed to remain open until 2:30 a.m. six days a week, but most close at 12:30 a.m. on Mondays.
Pavement markings. Ordinance JO-7 recognizes LCG’s receipt of a $1.6 million federal grant to improve pavement marking on non-state roads and approve $400,000 in local tax dollars ($392,000 city vs. $8,000 parish) for the project’s required match.