City-Parish President Joey Durel has removed from next Tuesday’s City-Parish Council agenda an ordinance up for final adoption that could have paved the way for the creation of tax increment financing districts in designated economic development districts along Interstates 10 and 49 and along Ambassador Caffery at Kaliste Saloom and Verot School Road. The ordinance didn’t actually create the economic development districts or the TIFs; it merely budgeted about $3,800 to publish notices of public meetings pertaining thereto.

TIFs are districts in which an elected body can impose an additional sales tax — without voter approval — to generate revenue that would be devoted to infrastructure improvements within that district. The most visible example of the use of TIFs in Lafayette is at the Louisiana Avenue/Interstate 10 interchange. Consumers at the now-bustling shopping center anchored by a Target and a JC Penney pay an additional one-cent sales tax on purchases there. That additional revenue is earmarked for future upgrades at that corridor.

In a terse email response to The Ind seeking confirmation that he had pulled the ordinance, Durel confirmed that he had and writes that we “need more open, public discussion” on the issue before proceeding. He expounds on that comment for The Daily Advertiser, telling the newspaper, “The process is where it should have probably been before, at a point where there needs to be a lot more public discussion about this. I just had a feeling as I’ve talked to people around town that there needs to be a whole lot more education about it before we do something like this.”

The ordinance passed by a 7-1 vote — District 9 Councilman William Theriot voted against it; District 3 Councilman Brandon Shelvin was absent — on Nov. 2. District 8 Councilman Keith Patin voted in favor of the ordinance at that time, but expresses reservations in The Advertiser article about the expanded use of TIFs. “I can support a development-driven TIF, like at Louisiana Avenue where Target is, because that was an economic driving tool and a partnership agreement,” Patin tells the paper. “But I could not live with circumventing the voters. I don’t like it in general. I was okay with Louisiana Avenue, but putting TIFs on these roads up and down the street — no, no, no.”

Read the article here.

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