Council votes down animal-control proposal for Broussard

The City-Parish Council voted down a proposal Tuesday to provide animal-control services in Broussard — payback for the small municipality’s lawsuit contesting Lafayette’s annexation of property in southern Lafayette Parish.

“Anytime your neighbor is suing you, it’s very tough to support them,” Lafayette City-Parish Councilman Kevin Naquin said.

Broussard had a contractual agreement to pay city-parish government about $52,000 a year for animal-control services, but Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel opted not to renew the contract earlier this year.

He argued Lafayette should cut the service since Broussard declined to drop a lawsuit challenging Lafayette’s annexation of more than 200 acres, some of which was being eyed by Broussard.

The council’s vote Tuesday was on a proposal by City-Parish Councilman William Theriot to override Durel’s executive decision.

The proposal failed 6-3, with only Theriot and councilmen Andy Naquin and Jared Bellard voting in favor.

Councilmen Don Bertrand, Kevin Naquin, Jay Castille, Brandon Shelvin, Kenneth Boudreaux and Keith Patin voted against the measure.

“The problem we have here is about annexation,” Bertrand said.

Durel said after the meeting he would approve the contract for animal-control services if Broussard dropped the annexation challenge.

“We have been a good neighbor for years and years, but what we have gotten in return is a slap in the face in the form of lawsuit,” Durel said.

Broussard officials have stood firm in the litigation.

Broussard council members Johnnie Foco and Ray Bourque and Broussard Mayor Charles Langlinais appeared before the City-Parish Council on Tuesday asking for approval of the animal-control agreement.

City-parish government has similar agreements with other smaller municipalities in the parish.

“We just want what everybody else has. We are a part of Lafayette Parish,” Foco said.

City-Parish Councilman Andy Naquin said he supported the contract with Broussard because he believes it is an issue of public safety, especially considering that diseased animals pay no attention to municipal boundaries.

Durel said the public safety issue falls on Broussard and Lafayette has no obligation to provide services there.

Broussard City Attorney Don Landry said the city plans to move forward with an agreement that has been in the works for St. Martin Parish government to provide animal-control services in Broussard, some of which is in St. Martin Parish.

The relationship between officials in Broussard and Lafayette has been strained for several years.

The annexation flap at the center of the animal-control contract is about property along the new southern stretch of Ambassador Caffery Parkway, which runs between Broussard and Lafayettte.

Some of Lafayette’s annexations took in a golf course owned by Lafayette but not in the city’s boundaries; other annexations took in property owners who had asked to be annexed by Broussard instead of Lafayette.

The area in dispute could be a lucrative source of tax revenue if the southern stretch of Ambassador Caffery develops as expected.