If you believe “consolidated” government is fine how it is, keep your head in the sand. If you’re willing to accept City-Parish President Joey Durel’s assertion that the city of Lafayette is shouldering a disproportionate burden, look no further than Thursday’s budget hearing concerning LCG’s Parks & Recreation Department.
As The Advocate reports today, Parks & Rec Director Gerald Boudreaux told the City-Parish Council that his department cannot continue to provide the current level of service on its current budget, much less on the 13.6 percent cut proposed in Durel’s 2012-2013 fiscal year budget, prompting Boudreaux to mention the unmentionable: increasing the property tax that funds Parks & Rec:
“This is not for a new golf course or a new recreation center; this is to maintain what we have today,” Parks and Recreation Director Gerald Boudreaux said Thursday. “If we do not have additional funds ... some of these (recreation) programs will have to be eliminated.”
Boudreaux said the Recreation Advisory Commission has unanimously endorsed asking city voters to increase the property tax that funds the department, now at 1.92 mills.
The recreation tax was approved in the 1960s and has remained unchanged, even as the number of parks and recreation centers has more than tripled, Boudreaux said.
The City-Parish Council would have to approve bringing the tax issue to voters; no date has been set as to when the measure might be considered.
Here’s the rub, folks: the public parks, ball fields, basketball and tennis courts and recreation centers operated and maintained by Parks & Rec are funded solely by a city property tax. Although residents across the parish use these facilities, and just like city residents leave behind trash and contribute to the general wear and tear that requires routine maintenance, the city taxpayers underwrite everything. What’s more, of the 39 parks, 10 rec centers and three public golf courses under Parks & Rec’s operations, eight of them are outside the city limits.
According the Parks & Rec page at LCG’s website, those outside-the-city parks include Judice Park, which offers tennis courts, soccer fields, lighted ball fields, batting cages, a jogging path, picnic areas, restrooms, a playground and other amenities. Located in the district of Tea Party-backed council Chairman Jared Bellard, Judice Park is used almost exclusively by residents in rural west Lafayette Parish, yet taxpayers in the city of Lafayette pick up the tab for their operations and maintenance.
This is of course egregious, an outgrowth of Lafayette city voters making the terrible mistake (I was one of them!) of voting overwhelmingly in the early 1990s to consolidate city and parish governments, allowing in the same stroke the five smaller municipalities to opt out of consolidated government yet still get an electoral voice in the representation on the City-Parish Council.
And we want to know what you think. Would you be willing to pay more in property taxes to keep Lafayette’s recreational offerings at their current level? Take our poll located to the right of this story.
JUNE 19 Former Saint Steve Gleason, who is paralyzed by ALS, released a statement Tuesday in response to the Atlanta radio station's skit making fun of him and the disease, this Picayune post reports. What did he say? He said he'd accepted the apology of the DJs who did it, notes that at least the incident has got people talking about ALS, and asks anyone who is burning to take action about it to do so -- by helping him fight ALS.
JUNE 19 Blogger Ian McGibboney takes a look at the Gleason incident in this post. He makes a good argument about the difference between having free speech and being free from consequences for your speech (which none of us is). He also admits that many of us got upset before we listened to the skit -- but lets us know that the reality is far worse than we can imagine. It was the incredibly bad judgment, even more than the actual speech, that probably got those DJs fired, he opines.
JUNE 19 Washington Post blogger Aaron Blake writes about Sen. Guillory's switch to the GOP in this post. He writes what most political watchers in Louisiana know: Guillory was a Republican before he decided to run for the senate seat in a mostly-D St. Landry district, and has switched back now that he plans to run for Lt. Gov. in a mostly-R state. But how come Blake missed Guillory's appearance on a TLC pageant show? Now that is a video we'd like to see. (Again).
JUNE 19 Here's another Washington Post blog post about a Louisiana politician, and it's just plain scathing. Ezra Klein says Jindal's Politico post was "insulting" to the intelligence of voters, and adds that Jindal is personifying the "stupid" he's railed against, by being an "elite" who convinces GOP activists of "things that aren't true." Me-ow.
JUNE 19 Here's Gov. Jindal's post in Politico, in which he asks the GOP to get over losing to Obama (again) and stop "the bedwetting." (Uh, what?) He gives his Republican buddies what is probably a nerd's idea of a coach's motivational talk, which starts with a list of accomplishments that they can't seem to exploit and ending with an absurd description of liberals that sounds like a character treatment for a Fox "News" movie scripted by Gordon Liddy. Sure, he's preaching to the choir, but even the choir's not this gullible.
JUNE 19 Lamar Parmentel read Gov. Jindal's post on Politico, but thinks it was so dumb it probably was published in the wrong paper. This post by Lamar on the Daily Kingfish opines that possibly Jindal's post was destined for the Onion -- because the governor couldn't possibly be serious here. If you listen closely, you can hear the staff of the Kingfish giggling.
JUNE 19 Blogger Robert Mann posts from Turkey, a country he has visited several times in the past few years. Mann gives an interesting overview of the current political and societal climate of the country, which -- if you're living under a rock and don't know -- is experiencing protests and turmoil these days. Mann promises to post as much as he can during his trip, which should be fascinating reading.
JUNE 19 Blogger CB Forgotston says the legislature is keeping the vicious cycle going with its funding of new buildings for the community college/technical college system. Universities across the state need maintenance and improvement on existing buildings, and the solution is to build new buildings at other schools? By the time the bonds are paid off, those buildings will be falling down, too, CB says.
Frank’s Casing Crew, now doing business as Frank’s International, will make its final appearance on ABiz’s list of the Top 50 Privately Held Companies in Acadiana this year, and once again it will likely be at the top with more than $1 billion in annual revenues. The 75-year-old company specializing in tubular fabrication and installation services to the oil and gas industry plans to offer shares of its stock to the public for the first time.
The defeat, or rather highjacking of House Bill 420 in the final days of this year's Legislative Session, say Reps. Vincent Pierre and Terry Landry, is the result of the propaganda spread by one unidentified local media outlet and an unnamed former state Representative, but nothing to do with the original legislation's lack of checks, balances or details.
He’s a singer. A songwriter. A piano man. A family man. He’s even got his own Wikipedia entry. He’s David Egan. And he knows ancient secrets about the monolithic stones of Stonehenge that he’s not willing to share.