City-Parish President Joey Durel’s proposed $611 million budget for the fiscal year that begins Nov. 1 is up for final adoption Thursday evening by the City-Parish Council. The budget includes line-item appropriations for the nearly completed Acadiana Center for the Arts as well as Festival International de Louisiane; a new funding model for both arts/culture and social service external agencies; and a plan to purchase the horse farm from UL through a cooperative endeavor agreement with Community Foundation of Acadiana.
Those proposals, per tradition, are likely to face opposition for at least a couple of councilmen.
Durel’s proposal that Lafayette Consolidated Government purchase the horse farm in a partial land-swap deal would give the university the 8-acre Youth Park that adjoins the campus behind the Johnston Street fire station.
The horse farm appraised for $5.7 million last year, and Youth Park in the past was worth about a half million dollars. For this proposed transaction, both properties will have to be reappraised, but local government is looking at paying about $5 million for the land over a 10-year period. The deal calls for creation of a cooperative endeavor agreement that includes a 99-year lease with CFA, which would raise the money to develop and maintain the park.
Under the new external-agency funding model, money used to fund the agencies through a competitive application process would come from franchise fees paid to LCG by Cox Communications and Lafayette Utilities System’s Fiber service. Currently, those entities generate about $840,000 in franchise fees annually. Of that sum, $515,000 would be allocated to the AcA, with $160,000 earmarked for distribution by the AcA staff to other arts and culture providers in the form of grants; at least $70,000 will go to Festival International de Louisiane, and the remaining $285,000 will underwrite the AcA’s operating expenses. Arts/culture providers that receive grants through the AcA will face a $17,500 cap — a $10,000 cap for operational funding and a $7,500 cap for programming.
Also under the new model, LCG’s Community Development Department will appoint a 5-person panel to award funding to nonprofit social service providers, with a $25,000 cap for each agency receiving funding.
The CPC meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. in the council auditorium.
[Editor’s Note: Prior reporting by Leslie Turk was included in this article.]
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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.