NEW ROADS — City Council members plan to decide in a special meeting Monday whether to continue their decades-long partnership with the parish government in operating the William H. Scott Memorial Civic Center.
The council’s decision could determine whether the New Roads facility would remain open for public use, parish officials said Thursday.
The upcoming vote was preceded by some back-and-forth between Mayor Robert Myer and the Pointe Coupee Police Jury.
Myer attended the Police Jury’s June 14 meeting, where he requested that the city, rather than the parish, be allowed to manage the building.
The jury and the council each contribute $50,000 annually to fund the Civic Center’s operations, with the parish government designated as managing partner. Myer asked for the change in order to pursue some of his marketing and development plans for the city.
Police jurors agreed to pursue the control swap if the two entities are able to iron out details prior to Oct. 1 related to the Civic Center’s staffing and usage fees.
But police jurors voted during their June 28 meeting to rescind that agreement.
Juror Albert “Dewey” Dukes said that after some thought, he voted to pull back the agreement because he wasn’t comfortable with the new arrangement.
Dukes said that despite Myer’s claims, he hadn’t been adequately assured the Civic Center would continue operating in a fashion equitable to everyone in the parish.
The mayor brushed aside Duke’s concerns Thursday, saying he had “bent over backward” to assure police jurors the Civic Center would be available to all parish residents.
At the June 14 Police Jury meeting, Myer proposed forming a committee comprised of two City Council members and three Police Jury members to vote on any substantive Civic Center policy changes.
Myer further expanded on his reasoning behind making the management shift by explaining that the Civic Center has become an economic drag on the city while under parish control.
“I don’t want to pick a fight, but the bottom line is that the Civic Center is deteriorating while its costs have risen 40 percent in the last couple of years and its revenues have remained flat,” Myer said.
Police Jury President Melanie Bueche agreed that the Civic Center is not a profitable venture, but said several police jurors feel the facility is intended to provide a service to residents regardless of its profitability.
Both Bueche and Police Jury Administrator Jim Bello said the Civic Center likely would have to close if the New Roads City Council opts out of the partnership.
“The Civic Center is booked almost every weekend,” Bueche said. “I’d hate to see it close.”