The Lafayette City-Parish Council voted unanimously Tuesday to endorse a bill that would exempt the Horse Farm property from public lease law.

Louisiana's public lease law requires governmental bodies to make bidding for projects on public property open to the public. House Bill 992, by state Rep. Joel Robideaux, R-Lafayette, would exempt the property from that requirement.

Lafayette City Attorney Mike Hebert said because the process involved with creating Lafayette's Central Park is constantly changing and expanding, it would be "counterproductive" to require each project on the land to go through a public bidding process. Hebert said the process involves a lot of time and heavy legal fees.

“The lease would still have to come to the council," Hebert said, "we just wouldn’t have to go through these other preliminary steps that we’ve been through already to comply with the public lease law.”

Council member Kenneth Boudreaux, District 4, questioned whether the exemption would remove transparency — that "assures that things are done appropriately" — from the property's development.

"If I thought that this cut a step out of the (transparency) process… I’d be more concerned about it," Hebert said. "But because that’s not in this equation, I don’t really see a significant issue.”

City-Parish President Joey Durel said endorsing the bill is a plea to the state to work around the time-consuming, state-mandated procedures.

"We're asking the state, the big government, to let little government do work more efficiently," Durel said.

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