Dec 8, 2009 9:23 AM by KATC
Downtown bar owners in Lafayette are processing why they have to pay more for security. In March, the City-Parish Council approved an ordinance requiring bar owners to pay a monthly fee for extra police patrols. Bars are paying approximately 50 percent of the overtime budget for the increased security. Depending on the size of the bar, fees range from one hundred dollars to fifteen hundred. But last month the Police Department told owners they needed more money to provide the protection. In a meeting today they found out why.
The downtown area has seen a spike in crowds which have resulted in several serious incidents. Police Chief, Jim Craft, says he needs more men on duty. The ordinance allows the department to take another look at staffing. Now on a Saturday night 20 officers will be patrolling the downtown streets. Craft says as a result the departments budget will double, going up to $480,000.
Some of the bars seeing a significant increase per month are Grant Street Dance Hall, which will now have to pay $3,100 and Nitetown who will fork over a grand more.
After a two hour meeting Monday bar owners say some of their questions about the unexpected increase have been answered but say it's not their patrons who are causing trouble.
Ideas about making bars 21 and over, eliminating open containers and enforcing a cruising curfew are being talked considered.
Monday's meeting was the first of many between bar owners, police and city administrators.
Meantime, until something is official, bar owners will have to pay the increased security fees.