Lafayette City-Parish Council Approves Funding For NGOs, Increases In Golf Fees
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday night elected new officers, approved funding for external agencies and approved an increase in fees for municipal golf courses.
The council first voted 6-3 on two motions to elect Kevin Naquin, District 1, and Kenneth Boudreaux, District 4, as council chair and vice chair, respectively. Council members Jared Bellard, District 5, Andy Naquin, District 6 and William Theriot, District 9, voted instead for Theriot and A. Naquin to fill the posts.
For City-Parish President Joey Durel’s report, Lafayette Chief Development Officer Kevin Blanchard presented dates for “PlanLafayette Week” as Feb. 5-12.
“The beauty of this part of the process is now we’re gonna be able to start talking about what’s in the plan,” Blanchard said.
It will be revealed Feb. 11-12 and will focus on four themes: “Refine Government, Revitalize Neighborhoods, Reenvision Natural Resources and Reinvent the Hub City.”
The council next recognized Kandy Andrepont, a University of Louisiana at Lafayette graduate who was crowned Miss Lafayette Parish after suffering nearly fatal injuries in a 2011 four-wheeler accident.
It also recognized the Acadiana High School Wreckin’ Rams football team for securing a third Class 5A state championship under coach Ted Davidson’s leadership, while also achieving a Superdome record for highest score with its 77-41 win over Bossier City's Parkway High School Panthers.
Boudreaux and outgoing chair Brandon Shelvin, District 3, next amended a resolution approving $278,444 of $641,548.95 requested to fund operations for 38 external agencies.
The proposed resolution initially denied funding to six of 25 social services programs. As amended by Boudreaux, the resolution instead denied Surrey Street Community Health Center an allotted $13,670 and redistributed the funds among four agencies.
The Family Violence Intervention Program that deals with domestic abuse victims and offenders was given $9,000. Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana’s proposed funds were reduced from $13,887 to $6,778.50, with FoodNet being awarded the same.
The partners work together in providing food for agencies like Faith House Battered Women’s Shelter, St. Joseph’s Diner and Red Cross. Mary-Kay Rath, of Second Harvest, said her organization provides food for 16 agencies in Lafayette Parish that serve 4,000 people each month.
Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Acadiana was lastly awarded $5,000 for its one-to-one youth mentoring program.
Shelvin’s amendment reduced grants by $770 for 13 agencies receiving $9,000 or more, excluding the Share the Light Program’s allotted $12,326.
The program is a partnership between Lafayette Catholic Services Center, Inc. and Lafayette Utilities System. It provides emergency utilities assistance for individuals who can prove low income along with documentation — “such as hospital bill, medication bill, repair or replacement of major appliance or car repair” — that warrants necessity for help.
The diverted $10,010 was split between the Autism Society of Acadiana and New Hope Community Development of Acadiana.
Josh Newman of New Hope said his organization has grown from servicing six children to 50 since the after-school remedial reading program was established in 2012.
All but one of 13 arts and culture applicants was awarded funding totaling $64,906.
Council members Jared Bellard, District 5, and Theriot voted against both the amendments and the resolution as amended, with member Donald Bertrand, District 7, abstaining.
The council later approved an ordinance allowing application to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security grant for the Lafayette Fire Department. The department could receive up to $300,000 of an available $32 million for the grant, which requires a 20 percent match of funds.
It next unanimously approved an increase to municipal golf park fees over two years, effective Jan. 10, 2014, and Jan. 1, 2015. The increases will generate approximately $565,000 in additional revenues over the next two years: $170,000 in 2014 and $395,000 in 2015.
Debate continued for most of the 7 o’clock hour between parks and recreation director Gerald Boudreaux and the council about the increases. The director said although recent remodeling has improved revenues at the courses — Jay and Lionel Hebert off of Louisiana Avenue, The Wetlands on University Avenue and Les Vieux Chenes in Youngsville — their expenditures consistently outnumber their revenues by around half a million.
A. Naquin recommended an increase in single game fees over annual fees, as he said senior citizens on fixed incomes expressed concern about the hike.
“If it becomes unaffordable for them to play, you take away their little pleasure in life,” he said.
Theriot questioned the necessity for three golf courses in Lafayette Parish, while K. Naquin said to close down a course would be detrimental.
Durel stepped in and reminded the council that rate increases are inevitable for business.
“You hear it all the time: Run government like a business,” he said. “Here is a very legitimate opportunity to run government like a business.”
The council lastly approved introductory ordinances for its Jan. 21 meeting, which include:
- Amending the operating budget for the Lafayette City Marshal’s Office to accommodate $12,412 received from the U.S. Marshal’s Service
- Authorizing a Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities grant for the Lafayette Public Library
- Authorizing a work agreement with BNSF Railway company to install concrete crossing panels and crossing signal equipment at Kaliste Saloom Road
- Amending the code of ordinances relative to the authority of the Louisiana State Uniform Construction Code Council
- Ordering condemnation for a manufactured home at 112 Andover Rd.