Council Preview 10/20: Funding LCG pay raises, City Council grows impatient, offloading parish parks and rent assistance
The gist: This meeting presents several items at the root of recent confrontation between members of the City Council and mayor-president. Items addressing the council’s bid for independent legal representation, the ongoing LUS investigation and finding permanent leadership for it, LUS Fiber, parks and recreation and the police department are all on that agenda. Plus, the Parish Council is moving forward with a plan to offload parks.
Council Preview 10/6: Answers on LUS investigation, what to do with LCG’s CARES Act money, polling locations, final adoption on parish tax increases
The gist: Some City Council members want more answers about the ongoing investigation into LUS and LUS Fiber, which the mayor-president escalated into criminal allegations. The Parish Council is likely to approve increases — without a public vote — for some property taxes to make up for lost revenue. Meanwhile, more money is pouring in from the federal government. Full agendas here.
The gist: Two library expansions and a new Northside branch may be reconsidered if the library’s property tax is not increased to offset revenue lost from declining commercial property values in the parish. The Lafayette Parish Library System stands to lose almost $750,000 in annual revenue if the Parish Council approves of Mayor-President Josh Guillory’s plan to leave it out of the increases for other parish functions. This decline would increase the library system’s operating deficit next year to $1.8 million, putting it on track to zero out its fund balance in four years.
Lafayette’s city and parish councils passed a compromise budget that doesn’t address any of the city’s or parish’s major budgetary problems.
While Lafayette’s economic forecast isn’t bright, it’s not near as dark as the mayor-president has made it out to be. That means the City Council can avoid drastic cuts.
Council Preview 9/15: Overriding mayor’s veto of a lawyer for the City Council, money for rental assistance, controversial “no standing” law
The gist: While Tuesday’s meetings shouldn’t hit marathon status, there’s still a lot to cover including some brewing controversies: a parishwide “no standing” ordinance fought by advocates for the homeless and the ACLU, a proposal to spend $3.5 million in parish dollars to fix a dilapidated garage, and a public hearing for 16 different properties whose owners are protesting their assessed values.
Saying the parish should live within its means is one thing, but actually cutting millions from a threadbare budget is something else entirely. Parish government now faces the unenviable choice of raising taxes or cutting essential services.
The Buchanan garage is a dilapidated property on prime real estate Downtown that’s been condemned because of government neglect. While it’d be great to get it back into commerce, the economics of Mayor-President Guillory’s plan don’t add up and they risk the financial health of the courthouse and the jail.
Council Preview 9/1: Higher taxes, fighting for city autonomy, millions in new spending, new restrictions on citizens
The gist: Tax increases, budget battles, new restrictions on citizens, short-term rentals, millions of dollars being spent on parish parks and the Buchanan garage are just some of what the councils will work through at tomorrow night’s meetings. All of this is set against a backdrop of rapidly deteriorating race relations and an increasingly embattled mayor-president.
LCG’s budgetmaking process can be complicated in a normal year, and this is far from a normal year. Newly split councils, a mayor-president deadset on slashing budgets, and an uncertain economy has created a perfect storm for a tense budgetmaking process. As the councils round the corner on amending this budget, these are some of the top issues still to be resolved.
COLUMN: Cutting quality of life services will backfire, hurting Lafayette’s economy for years to come
In order to be economically competitive as a city, Lafayette needs to offer quality of life amenities. In the rush to cut budgets, Mayor-President Guillory is putting the city’s quality of life at risk, reducing its ability to retain and attract people, especially young families.
Council Preview 8/18: A report on the LUS report, go-cups (again), early voting in North Lafayette, splitting up city and parish parks
Here are the highlights for Tuesday night’s city, parish, and joint council meetings. To view the full agendas click here, select 8/18/2020 from the dropdown menu, and then click on the agenda or agenda item you want to dive into.