Walter Pierce

Council advances NGO funding phase-out

by Walter Pierce

By a unanimous 8-0 vote (Dist. 6 Councilman Sam Dore was absent), the Lafayette Consolidated Council advanced an introductory ordinance that would eliminate city-parish funding for non-governmental organizations. A final vote on the measure sponsored by council members William Theriot (Dist. 9) and Jared Bellard (Dist. 5) will be held July 21. If approved, the ordinance would shift control of roughly $452,000 in direct funding ($780,000, including in-kind donations) for nonprofit agencies such as 232-HELP, Big Brothers-Big Sisters, the Acadiana Arts Council and Festival International de Louisiane to the Community Foundation of Acadiana and phase out that funding to nothing over a three-year period.

The vote came following an impassioned, extemporaneous plea from Maria Placer, director of social-service non-profit 232-HELP and former anchor and news director of KLFY TV-10, and a measured presentation from Gerd Wuestemann, the Acadiana Center for the Arts’ executive director and an internationally celebrated classical guitarist.

In other council news, the LCC gave the go-ahead for the Lafayette Natural History Museum to change its name to the Lafayette Science Museum. The council also granted an exemption from the city's spirits ordinance to the new Jefferson Orleans Restaurant, located at the corner of Jefferson and Johnston streets, allowing it to acquire a liquor license.