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City Council overrides Mayor-President's veto of independent counsel ordinance

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Posted at 8:23 PM, Sep 15, 2020

The Lafayette Councils are meeting Tuesday night with several issues up for discussion.

The Parish Council agenda approved an ordinance that would move $3,500,000 to fund repairs to the Buchanan Street Parking Garage. Councilman Andy Naquin shared his concerns over the $3.5 million zeroing out the parish's fund balance and a possible veto with Mayor-President Guillory, who said he was "not inclined" to veto the millage because he believes the courthouse is mandated by law to maintain. Guillory added that he believed that if the fund balance was available, it should be used on one-time capital projects like the courthouse.

District Judges Marilyn Castle and David Blanchet spoke during public comment on the current renovations underway or necessary in the courthouse, including the abatement of asbestos on the court floors. Both were concerned the allocation of $3.5 million to the parking garage would result in no or less funding for the interior renovation projects.

The councils ultimately approved the ordinance to move $3.5 to the garage and deferred indefinitely the next ordinance, which would have increased the use of last year's fund balance in the Courthouse Complex Fund and appropriated within the LPCC for funding needed. Councilman Josh Carlson (District 3) moved to return with an ordinance allocating the money instead to the fourth floor of the courthouse.

The City Council approved to override the veto of an ordinance by Mayor President Josh Guillory. A motion made to override the veto was approved 5-1.

The ordinance will allow the City Council to hire a attorney who is a specialist in consolidation issues to represent the City Council when it disagrees with the rulings of Guillory's attorney. Gullory previously vetoed the ordinance, and it was brought back before the council for reconsideration on Tuesday.

When the ordinance passed at the council's September 1 meeting, Council members Pat Lewis, Liz Hebert and Nanette Cook voted for it. Councilman Andy Naquin voted against it, and Councilman Glenn Lazard was absent.

Also on the joint agenda was an ordinance that would allocate $400,000 in federal funds to a rental and utility assistance program that will be run by Catholic Charities of Acadiana. That ordinance and an introductory ordinance to ratify the emergency appropriations were both approved by the joint councils.

The Joint Council meeting includes an ordinance that would make it illegal for citizens to stand within 36 inches of the street, or on medians. The ACLU and the Anti-Defamation League have called it unconstitutional and have asked council members to vote against it. The only exemption in the ordinance is for bus stops. There is no exemption for Mardi Gras or any other parade event. KATC's Eman Boyd will have more on the councils' discussion of this ordinance tonight at 10 p.m.

You can watch tonight's meeting here.