The Lafayette City-Parish Council voted Tuesday to adopt tough new measures to deal with downtown bars that fail to pay their monthly law enforcement levy in a timely fashion. Ordinance 95, which the council passed by a 5-2 vote, allows LCG to impose liquor license suspensions against scofflaw night clubs. The ordinance stipulates a 3-day suspension for a first offense, a 30-day suspension for a second offense and a one-year suspension for a third offense; the second and third violations must occur within a year of the first violation in order for the stiffer penalties to apply.
Within the "whereas" section of the ordinance, "certain establishments failing to pay their Special Law Enforcement Levy in a timely manner" is cited among the reasons for the new law.
District 3 Councilman Brandon Shelvin, who represents downtown Lafayette and has been an advocate for bar owners in their fight against the levies, tried unsuccessfully to head the ordinance off at the pass — or to at least stall it — by offering a motion to table the ordinance for two weeks. His colleague from neighboring District 4, Kenneth Boudreaux, seconded the motion, which received four votes from the seven council members present. However, according to parliamentary rules, Shelvin’s motion needed five votes to pass.
Voting for the ordinance were council members Purvis Morrison (District 1), Jay Castille (2), Boudreaux, Don Bertrand (7) and Keith Patin (8). Councilmen Shelvin and Jared Bellard (District 5) voted against; Sam Dore (6) and William Theriot (9) were absent Tuesday.
Per the state law governing suspension of liquor licenses, bars facing a suspension would have the right to appeal.
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