Competing priorities between the cities of Youngsville and Broussard will likely come into sharp focus this week as both cities vie for real estate along the newly completed Ambassador Caffery Parkway extension that cuts through a roughly 3-mile swath of unincorporated south Lafayette Parish.
The Broussard City Council will vote tonight on two annexations along Ambassador. One of them — near Bonin Road — could precipitate a legal dispute between Broussard and Youngsville; the latter also plans to annex a roughly mile-long strip on the south side of Ambassador from Bonin Road to the Youngsville Highway, but will not vote on the annexation until Wednesday — a day after Broussard’s council votes. But Youngsville Mayor Wilson Viator says he already has signed petitions from land owners and registered voters along the proposed annexation route certified with parish authorities.
“I have all my proper paperwork, all the petitions have been signed, everything’s been certified by [Assessor] Conrad Comeaux and also the voter registrar. So I have both my certifications, so that’s why I’m moving forward,” Viator says. According to state law, a municipality must obtain the consent of both a majority (50 percent plus 1) of registered voters and resident property owners plus an additional 25 percent in the assessed value of the property proposed for annexation before an area can be incorporated.
The Ambassador South extension from Verot School Road to U.S. 90 is expected to become a lucrative source of sales tax revenue as business development takes root along the roadway in coming years. “That’s exactly why I’m strongly recommending to the council that we annex,” adds Viator, “and that’s why I’m going to the trouble of doing what I’ve done and getting it certified and I’m ready for final adoption.”
Aware that Broussard’s council agenda is devoted to an annexation of parts of Ambassador South, Viator tried to convene a special meeting of the Youngsville City Council for Tuesday. However, three of the five members of the council cited prior commitments. Consequently, the council won’t have a quorum and cannot take action until a special meeting on Wednesday. “They’ve all agreed to be there Wednesday,” Viator says, adding that he’s “cautiously optimistic” he’ll get council support for the Ambassador annexation. However, the city of Broussard may already have claimed some of that land, and it’s unclear — state law is complicated and murky on competing annexations — how it will play out after the Youngsville vote, assuming both cities plant stakes in the same acreage.
The city of Lafayette, meanwhile, is working on its own plans to annex land in an area where the three municipalities are growing into one another. In a special meeting Monday the Lafayette City-Parish Council voted unanimously to annex more than 270 acres near the Ambassador/Youngsville Highway intersection comprising the city-owned and -operated Les Vieux Chenes Golf Course, Fabacher Field and the site of a future water storage facility. But hundreds of acres in the area, including along Ambassador, remain up for grabs, and the city of Lafayette is intent on getting its share.
“There are more annexations to come,” says Frank Thibeaux, annexation coordinator for LCG’s Planning, Zoning & Codes Department. “We’ll be working on that for the next six to nine months.”
Thibeaux adds that Lafayette officials have been in contact with landowners in that part of the parish, many of whom have expressed an interest in being annexed into the city. “I suspect we’ll be bringing several [annexations] to the council in the coming months,” he says.
MAY 22 This post was written the day after the second line shooting in NOLA, by Brentin Mock. Mock is a friend of Deb "Big Red" Cotton, a blogger who was shot in the back and was seriously injured. It is a raw, emotional piece of writing, something the writer obviously felt he needed to get off his chest. But it raises questions that can't be easily dismissed, and might give some insight into where the source of these events truly is.
MAY 22 In this Baton Rouge Business Report post, Rolfe McCollister considers the privatization of bus service in Baton Rouge. After decades of under-funding, it is a mess, and although a tax (partially) passed last year, improvement hasn't happened yet. McCollister apparently feels it is time to let private business get in on the transit business.
MAY 22 This post on Bayou Buzz by Jeff Crouere urges the defeat of a bill that would grant modest pay increases over the next several years to the state's judges and clerks of court. The state is in no position to fund pay hikes, Crouere argues, with the pay increases costing a total of $9 million over several years. It sends the wrong message to the (proverbial) hard-working people of Louisiana, he says.
MAY 22 The Advocate reports here that State Treasurer John Kennedy is complaining about a meeting of the corporation that oversees the state's tobacco settlement. The Governor wanted it restructured, and he has some support, but not a lot. The corporation agreed with his plan, but Kennedy didn't, and it appears that the meeting was noticed in a manner completely different than that of all previous meetings. Kennedy's given to hyperbole, but in this case the fish don't smell too fresh.
MAY 22 In this Advocate story, Carencro Police Chief Carlos Stout says the recent federal indictment of a strip club owner is all wrong. The indictment alleges that drugs and prostitution went on with impunity because club staff made arrangements with "local" police. Stout says it never happened, and while his cops do work security in the parking lot, they're not allowed inside.
MAY 22 This amusing post in DIG Baton Rouge recounts an ad that ran on Craig's List recently; the advertiser was seeking tenants for a Beauregard Town house. He knew his market, and wrote an ad that the most ironical hipster couldn't resist. Apparently, he really did know his market, because the ad worked like a charm.
MAY 22 In this post in The Lens, Mark Moseley comments on the rhetoric Gov. Jindal employed in trying to save his tax "reform" package. One interesting point concerns Jindal's use of his brother, Nikesh, in a little story. Nikesh left Louisiana because of his inability to get a decent job, the story goes, but the story won't hold water: Nikesh lives in DC, which has an income tax level comparable to Louisiana, Moseley says. If income taxes caused the dismal situation, it should exist in DC too. Right?
MAY 22 This post by columnist John Maginnis traces the trajectory of the bill that would fund construction at community and technical colleges -- and bypass the Board of Regents and traditional higher ed funding mechanisms. Sure, it will bust the legislature's self-imposed debt limit, but some leges feel that there's more need (because there is more growth) in the community and technical college area than in the university area, he says.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.