Two items on Tuesday's Lafayette City-Parish Council meeting agenda would provide an additional $860,000 for the jail and Sheriff's Office at a time when Sheriff Mark Garber is cutting programs and laying off employees due to a lack of funding.
Most of the money, $601,546, would come from the parish, with $250,000 coming from the city of Lafayette.
Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux, according to the agenda, is sponsoring an ordinance for introduction Tuesday to provide $601,546 to the Sheriff's Office to restore operations of the juvenile assessment center that were suspended in November. The money would be transferred out of a parish juvenile detention home fund that receives money from a parish wide tax dedicated to the home.
The administrator of the Lafayette Parish Juvenile Detention Home said Wednesday he's concerned the center will fill up quickly with the closu…
Garber suspended the JAC program in mid-November, citing a lack of sufficient funding from Lafayette Consolidated Government.
It cost more than $500,000 to operate the JAC in 2018. Despite an intergovernmental agreement in which LCG is to pay more than $250,000 a year, the last LCG payment covered through Oct. 31, 2017.
Juveniles who are arrested go to the assessment center for evaluation of their risk and needs, along with whether they qualify for a treatment diversion program. The center provides tutoring and community service hours and identifies specific needs such as mental and substance abuse problems, then works with parents on a course of action.
Without the JAC program, more juveniles may be sent to the juvenile detention center, increasing costs to the parish, or they will be released to their parents.
A year ago, voters rejected a half-cent sales tax for the jail that would have generated $25 million a year for the sheriff's office. It was opposed by Mayor-President Joel Robideaux. Garber warned that without the new tax revenue he might be forced to lay off employees and consolidate or eliminate programs.
Also on Tuesday, the council is expected to consider for introduction an ordinance increasing by $250,000 a year the amount the city of Lafayette pays the sheriff to house city prisoners.
Currently, via an intergovernmental agreement, the city pays the sheriff's office $1 million a year to house, feed, clothe and provide medical care to city inmates. That would increase to $1.25 million a year, retroactive to Nov. 1, the start of the LCG fiscal year, if the ordinance is approved. The payment would be made in four installments of $312,500, the first of which would be due Jan. 1.
The agreement is contingent upon the council also approving two budget amendments to cover the cost, Assistant City-Parish Attorney Daniel Gauthier wrote in a memo. One is the transfer of $129,500 from the city sales tax fund, which will be introduced by the council Tuesday. The second was introduced Nov. 19 to sell a surplus parking lot at 103 Hamilton Place for $120,500 to an adjacent property owner, provided the city be allowed to use the lot for overflow parking when needed.
The ordinances, if approved for introduction Tuesday, will be considered for final council approval Dec. 17.
The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office is slashing its community support and diversionary programs and reducing its staff as the office’s budge…
Last week, Garber eliminated the transitional work program that offered full-time jobs and training opportunities to qualified offenders. Sources also said some employees received lay-off notices.
In October, Garber sued LCG, claiming city-parish government has not been paying its fair share of the costs of operating the parish jail. Garber proposed in August LCG increase funding for the jail by $1.7 million, the cost of 35 positions. At the request of Robideaux, the council did not include that money in the 2019-20 LCG budget that took effect Nov. 1.
Garber's Oct. 4 lawsuit accuses LCG of not paying for state-mandated costs, including medical care, maintaining the jail and feeding and clothing prisoners.
Attorneys for Lafayette Consolidated Government, in their response to a lawsuit over parish jail expenses filed by Lafayette Parish Sheriff Ma…