Four Lafayette City-Parish Council members want a Louisiana Attorney General's opinion on whether the council can change descriptions of new city and parish council districts or whether a vote of the people is needed.
The resolution on the March 12 council agenda lists Jared Bellard and council members Nanette Cook, Pat Lewis and William Theriot as authors. Five of the nine council members are needed to approve the resolution.
Also on the agenda are two ordinances, sponsored by Councilman Jay Castille, that would correct clerical errors and inconsistencies in the new council district boundaries.
Lafayette Parish voters on Dec. 8 approved a Home Rule Charter amendment splitting the nine-person City-Parish Council into separate five-person city and parish councils. The election results were certified. It came to light a few weeks ago that descriptions of some of the new districts, attached to the ordinance calling the election but not contained in the ballot language, contain errors or omissions.
Following a closed-door Feb. 25 meeting at the Louisiana Secretary of State Office, some councilmen said the city-parish attorney advised the district errors can be corrected with a council ordinance. Council Chairman Jared Bellard, who attended the meeting, said at the time he might ask for an Attorney General opinion. Mayor-President Joel Robideaux, who opposed the charter amendment in the December election, spoke out in favor of calling a new vote.
Lafayette Consolidated Government lawyers have determined that a new vote of the people is n…
Because of election deadlines, waiting for an outside legal opinion could jeopardize implementation of the Home Rule amendment. Qualifying for the new city and parish council seats is Aug. 6-8. The election is Oct. 12. Several people already have announced their plans to run for the new council seats.
If the deadlines aren't met in time for the election, current council members' terms could be extended up to a year. Four of them — Kenneth Boudreaux, Jay Castille, Bellard and Theriot — have reached their term limits and are prohibited from running for the city-parish council, the city council and the parish council.