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 17 If anyone ever wonders why Saints fans hate Atlanta with a capital H, here's a good indication. Radio "professionals" at an Atlanta station created an entire segment around making fun of former Saints player Steve Gleason, who is now paralyzed by ALS. Listen, nobody's ever accused DJs of being rocket scientists. But how could someone think it is amusing to pretend to ask a man with a degenerative, fatal disease if he will be alive next week? The DJs have been fired, and are now whining about how gutless their former bosses are. Wow.
JUNE 18 Here's the latest from the Advocate on the fatal hit-and-run accident allegedly involving the president of the Livingston Parish School Board. He's accused by police of hitting a 21-year-old man on a highway early Sunday and driving away. The man died at a hospital later. On Monday, police seized the president's truck and towed it away. But he's available for board meetings: apparently a $500 bond is sufficient for this type of thing over in St. Helena Parish.
JUNE 18 Former broadcast journalist Griffin Scott has posted this plea on his blog for financial assistance from his readers. Scott, who says he was fired after he wrote something fairly innocuous (for Facebook) on his wall, is suing a media giant for his job back. He's framed himself as David going after a bloated media giant, and he's probably not far off.
JUNE 18 Here's a fairly absurd column posted on DIG Magazine about the completely absurd practice of naming killer storms. Tornadoes don't have names. Blizzards don't have names. But hurricanes do, and there's a big process to bestow them, Jacques Cormery writes. He's right about the crazy assemblage of names -- this year, there's everything from Tanya to Humberto -- and his idea that we don't waste good names on killer storms is a good one.
JUNE 17 Political columnist John Maginnis has some advice for Louisiana Republicans: grow up. After the schism that occurred in this past session - fiscal hawks teaming up with Democrats to spank the Republican "majority" and hand Gov. Jindal his, er, aspirations for continued solon control -- they need to figure out how to get along with each other, Maginnis writes.
JUNE 17 Here's the Picayune's obit story for Dorothy 'Miss Dot' Domilise, the lady who made poboys at the uptown restaurant that bears her name. Miss Dot moved to New Orleans during World War II, where she met and married her husband Sam. When she passed away Friday she was 90, and had spent more than 60 of those years working at the restaurant on Annunciation Street.
JUNE 17 This editorial in the Advocate speaks in favor of the consent decrees that have federal judges overseeing police operations and the sheriff's parish prison in New Orleans. Mayor Landrieu and Sheriff Gusman can't get along, so outside forces, like the Inspector General and the judges, are needed to make sure things run right, the editorial opines.
JUNE 18 Here's a post from Manny Schewitz on Forward Progressives that is good for a chuckle. Manny had an epiphany back in November, and is sharing it with us today: he believes that Fox "News" is killing the GOP by pandering to right wing nuts. Now, don't get it twisted: Manny's not broke up about it. He says he enjoys watching the downward spiral with a shot of whiskey and "a schadenfreude chaser."
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 go public this year.
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.