Back up for discussion Tuesday before the Lafayette City-Parish Council is a $150,000 public works project that has become a source of discord between the Durel administration and a councilman, and Tuesday’s tone could be a precursor for Thursday’s budget finalization.

At issue is a parking-lot paving project at Judice Park in Councilman Jared Bellard’s fifth district — a project approved by the council a year ago when it overrode a veto by City-Parish President Joey Durel. A similar project in council Chairman Jay Castille’s district in Carencro, also approved by the council via a veto override, is scheduled to go out for bid in November. In a case of acrimony detailed a couple of weeks ago by The Advocate, Bellard accuses Durel of blocking the project because Bellard has been an adversary of some of Durel’s budget priorities, namely Lafayette Consolidated Government’s funding of arts and social service agencies as well as the proposed purchase of the UL horse farm by LCG. Durel told The Advocate that more pressing needs have pushed the Judice Park project to the bottom of the list, but did imply that Bellard’s unwillingness to cooperate with the administration figures in to its willingness to make the parking lot a higher priority.

Durel’s proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year, including the horse farm purchase and external agency funding, is up for final adoption Thursday. The outcome of Tuesday’s discussion on Judice Park could figure heavily into Bellard’s willingness to acquiesce.

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