Lafayette township council made plans to spend $ 5 million on federal COVID-19 funding on Wednesday and filled a vacancy on the library’s controversial oversight committee.
The council approved three items for a total of $ 480,000 and voted for seven additional projects totaling $ 4.5 million for its December 15 meeting. The funding comes from $ 47.5 million the community received from the American Rescue Plan Act as part of the federal COVID-19 stimulus package.
The three items that were definitively approved on Wednesday include $ 100,000 for radio equipment for the volunteer fire department, $ 100,000 for a new radiator for the morgue, and $ 280,000 to fund a two-year project manager job that will cost approximately $ 46,000. Dollars a year with half of the funding of the item being reserved for business expenses.
Previous reporting:City council will weigh an additional $ 6.8 million in federal spending
A $ 1.5 million radio emergency system and $ 1.5 million consultancy fees top the list of seven items to be voted on Dec. 15, of which 1.25 million US dollars in upgrades for the War Memorial Building will also be up for discussion at this session.
Lafayette City Council will also vote on December 15 on $ 1.2 million in additional consulting fees for its $ 38.3 million in ARPA funding.
“It’s a large amount of money, but it’s not uncommon for the federal government to reserve up to 10% of the federal grant for administration,” Lorrie Toups, chief financial officer of Lafayette Consolidated Government, told the city council on Wednesday.
“More often, you’ll see between 5 and 8% putting them aside. As they haven’t made final rules on this money yet, we don’t know how much they will limit for the administrative side, but we are sure that this is below 5% … we will be within the guidelines for this money. “
The council has already approved $ 14.5 million in spending from its federal reserve, mainly on infrastructure projects previously proposed by Mayor President Josh Guillory last summer.
The local council also voted Wednesday to approve $ 750,000 for the purchase of 17.3 acres near the Willow Street complex of the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office to build a new prison.
Could Lafayette’s prison move ?:Local councils have a new plan
The cost of the new facility is expected to be between $ 65 million and $ 85 million. Council members have discussed a short-term, community-wide 1-cent sales tax to finance construction costs, but plans for a similar tax proposal to build a replacement for Lafayette’s Heymann Performing Arts Center could be disrupted.
At Wednesday’s meeting, there was little discussion among councilors about the council’s ARPA spending and voting on the location of the prison.
His vote to appoint a longtime religious school teacher and head of the parish’s controversial library control committee was the only vote that received much debate among councilors.
David Pitre, who led the launch of the Ascension Episcopal School campus in Youngsville, was named Wednesday with the assistance of councilors Josh Carlson, Bryan Tabor and John Guilbeau.
Carlson, who briefly worked with Pitre at Ascension Episcopal School before leaving Pitre in 2013, nominated him for the opening and said he saw Pitre’s leadership in action while working with him.
“Ten years ago I had the opportunity to work with him at school. I saw his leadership there. All of these qualifications taken together will be of great benefit to the Library Council, ”said Carlson.
The board has been a center of controversy this year, most recently over an attempt to remove an LGBTQ book, which eventually failed after being urged by two conservative members of the board who also opposed the 2018 Drag Queen Story Time event in the library protested.
November:Attempting to remove the LGBTQ book fails as the library remains the battlefield of the culture war
Previously, the controversy over the Board’s rejection of a voting grant resulted in the director’s abrupt resignation and public backlash from residents, local leaders and civil rights organizations.