Lafayette Parish Sheriff Mark Garber wants former Mayor-President Joel Robideaux to testify in a court case challenging Lafayette Consolidated Government's limited funding of the parish jail.
Garber's attorneys Tuesday subpoenaed Robideaux to appear at a law office March 18 for a sworn, video deposition, court records show.
The Sheriff's Office filed a lawsuit in October alleging LCG, under Robideaux's administration, which ended Jan. 6, failed to fulfill its legal obligation to finance some jail services, including prisoner medical care and transportation, creating a $12.8 million shortfall. State law requires parishes to pay for certain operations at parish jails, which normally are run by local sheriffs.
In one of his last acts as mayor-president, Robideaux's administration counter-sued Garber, alleging his office was profiting by sending Lafayette Parish prisoners out of the parish at a higher cost to LCG while taking in prisoners from the state, which pays more to house inmates.
A parish property tax for jail operations and maintenance hasn't produced enough revenue to cover needs for years. As a result, LCG has taken money from another property tax dedicated to the jail and parish courthouse, leaving insufficient money for the courthouse. Jail expenses cut deeper into that jail/courthouse tax each year. On Tuesday, LCG Chief Financial Officer Lorrie Toups told the Parish Council the jail/courthouse fund could be out of money in as little as a year if LCG gives Garber all the money he's seeking.
LCG has been dipping into the parish general fund to pay for some of the operations of the courts that are mandated by the state. But the parish general fund has little money in reserve. Some blame the parish's financial problems on the annexation by municipalities of businesses that generate tax revenue that would have gone to the parish.
In November 2018, voters rejected two proposed property taxes, one to maintain, operate and improve the parish jail, the other for district courts. The jail tax would have generated about $6.7 million a year. The court tax was expected to generate about $4.5 million a year.