Posted: Nov 15, 2011 10:27 PM by Shawn Kline
Updated: Nov 15, 2011 10:32 PM
A handful of bar owners are appealing a suspension after not paying required fines for police security.
Lafayette's City-Parish council decided not to accept the appeals Tuesday night.
Council decided it was following the rules of the ordinance correctly.
"We were specifically voting on whether or not the director followed the ordinance," Councilman Brandon Shelvin said. "Which obviously he did."
Councilman Shelvin has been an avid opponent of the downtown police levy.
"I really don't think private businesses should have to foot the bill for public security." Shelvin says, "we're already paying sales taxes, property taxes."
For the past few years, that's exactly what downtown bars have been doing; footing the bill for more than $500,000 a year for Lafayette officers on the downtown detail.
That is, until owners of Karma, Guamas, Bootleggers, Rabbit Hole, and B.E.D. stopped paying. The owners question if the fine is constitutional.
"My opinion is clear- it's not," Attorney Daniel Stanford said. "The city is acting without proper authority in assessing this special police levy."
Stanford represents some of those bars under suspension and plans to take the police levy to court.
"It's a tax imposed on a special group in a special location. What they're paying for is police protection on the streets." Stanford says, "which they're already paying taxes for- everybody in Lafayette pays for that."
In another twist, this controversy may not even make it to district court.
An amendment to abolish this ordinance is on the agenda for December 6th.