NEW ROADS — The City Council voted unanimously Monday to opt out of its decades-long partnership with parish government in operating the William H. Scott Memorial Civic Center in a move parish leaders said could lead to the building’s closing.
The City Council and the Pointe Coupee Police Jury are each responsible for 50 percent of the center’s operating budget. Under that agreement, the Police Jury is the building’s managing partner.
But Mayor Robert Myer said the facility has been mismanaged during the past several years and has fallen into a state of disrepair while its operating expenses have risen.
“There’s work not being done, but we’re still getting billed for it,” Myer said.
In the past three years, the city has spent $265,000 on the Civic Center when maintenance costs and other expenses are factored in, while the parish has contributed $148,000, Myer said.
“I see no other option but to” opt out, Myer said, meaning the city will not contribute to the Civic Center’s operations after 90 days.
After the vote, Myer assured the public the Civic Center will not close and said he’s open to negotiating a new deal.
On June 14, Myer appeared before the Police Jury, asking that the city, rather than the parish, be allowed to manage the building.
The Police Jury voted to pursue the control swap if details could be ironed out before Oct. 1 related to the Civic Center’s staffing and usage fees.
But two weeks later, at the Police Jury’s June 28 meeting, jurors voted to rescind their earlier vote and continue to manage the building.
Police Jury President Melanie Bueche said some jurors felt they needed more time to consider the swap.
Last week, after hearing about the mayor’s recommendation that the city opt out of the agreement, Bueche and Parish Administrator Jim Bello said the Civic Center would likely have to close.
But Police Jurors Janet Vosburg, Willie Olinde and Clifford “Ted” Nelson all showed up at Monday’s City Council meeting and indicated they would be willing to compromise.
The Police Jury is scheduled to discuss the issue further at its regular meeting Tuesday.