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Guillory restores funding to hire director for group

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Posted at 11:50 AM, Sep 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-21 12:50:33-04

Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory has vetoed increased funding for traffic calming initiative, instead sending $250,000 to an agency to hire a director.

The veto, which Guillory announced in a letter Monday, is aimed at "restoring" money that he says was taken from the North Lafayette Redevelopment Authority. The "one-time seed money" will allow the authority to hire an executive director who can "identify additional funding sources and implement plans for north Lafayette."

What is unclear is what was "restored," however, because funding for NLRA does not appear to be in the budget proposed by the Guillory administration. You can see that proposed budget here. We've asked for clarification on that point, and we will update this story when we've received it.

According to the state Division of Administration's website, the NLRA is overseen by a board of commissioners which was created in 2008. The current chair is Shytishia A. Moore-Flugence, a Lafayette attorney.

The website states that the authority is directed to "provide for a unified and comprehensive response to the housing shortages and other indirect effects of hurricanes Katrina and Rita upon the city of Lafayette; the general and economic welfare of the city through housing, commercial, office, hospitality, recreation, education, infrastructure and utility capacity, manufacturing, industrial, research, retail, or other activities which will create or retain jobs, maintain or diversify industry, including new or emerging technologies, or maintain or increase the tax base; the improvement of conditions of deteriorated physical development, slow economic growth, and eroded financial health of the public and private sectors; the control, abatement, and prevention of pollution to protect public health and safety, and the development and use of indigenous and renewable energy resources; and assistance to nonprofit and governmental entities in support of health, educational, charitable, community, cultural, agricultural, consumer or other services benefiting the citizens."

It was created by the legislature. To read the law that sets out the board's powers - which include the ability to levy taxes and to sell tax default properties - click here. According to the state's website, there are only four board members, although there are eight seats. It does not appear that the board has met in years.

The authority was the subject of a proposed bill in this year's legislative session; it would have expanded the authority's reach but make some changes in board appointments. It had strong support from the local Habitat for Humanity. The Current did a story about the bill, which died in committee, and you can read it here.

In his veto letter, which you can read below, Guillory says he feels the $200,000 left in the traffic calming project is enough to start the work on that initiative, and he says he would support more funding after there is information about which calming efforts work best, and where they are needed in the city.