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City Councilwomen seek to sever P&R from the parish

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Posted at 5:08 PM, Aug 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-03 18:08:59-04

After an ordinance that would keep four city recreation centers open was shot down by parish councilmen, an ordinance is on tomorrow's agenda to change the circumstances.

The ordinance was proposed by city council members, but was introduced as a joint ordinance of the city and parish councils. No one on the parish council would second the motion to introduce it - made by the lone black parish councilman - and so it died.

The item on tomorrow's agenda would segregate all parish funds from city funds in the Parks and Recreation department, to allow the city council to make its own decision about city centers funded with city money.

The aim of the ordinance, according to its text is that "so that the Lafayette City Council, in its capacity of the governing authority of the City of Lafayette, may solely make decisions on this Department's budget."

The special meeting is set for 6 p.m. tomorrow, immediately following the regular council meeting. To look at the agendas, go to this page and click on August 4, 2020.

The annual budget last year for the department was $7 million. That budget consists of $2.8 million raised by the 10 mills of property tax in the city, as well as $3.4 million from the city general fund and $374,000 from the parish general fund, and another $580,000 of income generated by rentals and fees of the department's programs and facilities.

There are five members of the city council: two black men, one white man and two white women. The members proposing the ordinance are the two white females.

Although Lafayette's city and parish governments were "consolidated" years ago, almost all of the funding can't be combined. Tax dedications require that funds be spent in either the city or the parish. After years of confusion related to a consolidated council, voters decided to separate the councils into the parish and city councils. The basis of this action was to ensure that council members representing the city had the authority to make decisions about how city money was to be spent.