Broussard – The potential impact of the BP oil spill on Broussard’s economy was discussed at the May 24 City Council meeting.
“We are still driven by the oil industry,” said Mayor Charles Langlinais. He speculated that more regulation of offshore drilling will result from the oil spill, but the impact of regulations for Broussard businesses in the upcoming fiscal year is still unknown.
Broussard’s budget relies on sales taxes paid by local businesses, many of which are supported by oilfield activity. Major infrastructure improvements with large price tags, such as the Cypress Bayou coulee drainage project, are pending in 2011.
City accountant Gene Chiarulli reported Broussard is about $35,000 ahead of budget for the fiscal year ending in June. Supported by the financial data, council members agreed to expend $20,000 for installation of a high-tech time clock for city employees in all departments. The networked system will operate by hand scanning from any system location, and will eliminate misuse and manual calculations of old time clock punch cards.
“We are trying to be conservative,” said District 5 Councilman Kenny Higginbotham.
Higginbotham asked for consideration of a 4 percent raise for city employees in the 2011 budget, since salary
increases were not included in recent budgets.
In other action, the council heard a report from Lafayette attorney Allan Durand on the city’s effort to correct a property annexation attempt by the City of Lafayette for land in Broussard city limits. The suit, filed May 24, contests the original annexation by Lafayette, and was filed as a protective measure for Broussard. If Lafayette cancels the original ordinance, the suit will be dropped.
“It is legally impossible to block annexation,” Durand explained.
Council members agreed that Broussard is not attempting to block annexation, and expressed the city’s full cooperation for conducting proper annexation procedures.
Citing parish ordinances, Durand explained Lafayette’s authority for property they own, and clarified the annexation filing requirements for access to the Vieux Chene Golf Course land owned by Lafayette but located within Broussard city limits. Durand also noted various public notice and petition requirements for property that is privately or publicly owned, and the signature requirements for property owner residents and non-residents. Non-resident property owners have no voting rights regarding annexation, according to Durand’s report.
“Broussard financed a $10 million dollar investment into the Ambassador Caffery extension that just opened,” said District 3 Councilman Keith Rousseau. He added that Lafayette did not fund the road improvement as incorrectly stated in the news media.
Broussard’s matching funds investment was a catalyst for the rapid road construction, which council members hope will lead to future development along the extension.
Despite the imbalance of investment, the Mayor explained that Broussard has also been asked by Bill Fontenot, the Louisiana Department of Transportation’s Region 3 administrator, to accept maintenance responsibility for sections of the roadway. In trade, the state would agree to maintain other new roads surrounding Broussard.
Adding salt to the wound, District 1 Councilman Terry Guilbeau questioned delays in posting new city and street signs on the extension. Langlinais explained that signs ordered through the city of Lafayette’s transportation department were delayed due to a $1,400 C.O.D. requirement that had not been invoiced to Broussard. However, an agreement was reached between the cities for immediate delivery and installation of the signs with assistance from the state highway department. Payment for the signs is still pending.