Terrebonne Council votes on rec district ordinance

A controversial ordinance that will give the Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government oversight of how neighborhood recreation districts manage their affairs passed by an 8-1 vote during Wednesday night’s meeting.

The 11 districts each have independent power to tax property owners and enter into contracts. Members are nominated by Parish Council members and appointed by the council. But disappointment over the progress of a sports complex in Houma’s District 2-3 and questions about the operations of another Houma District, Rec 11, sparked calls for the parish to keep a tighter rein.

Council Member John Navy wrote an initial draft of an oversight ordinance which was picked up by Council Member Darrin Guidry, who crafted it into its current form. One of the previous versions presented by Navy failed at the Sept. 15 council meeting by a vote of 4-3, when members Scotty Dryden and Steve Trosclair were absent. Trosclair left that meeting around 9 p.m. for a work appointment after multiple hours of discussion regarding the ordinance. At tonight’s meeting, both Trosclair and Dryden voted in favor, while Dirk Guidry and Christa Duplantis-Prather went from against the previous ordinance to approving the current one. Gerald Michel was the only member opposed to both measures.

An item that drew particular ire from rec district members was a provision that enables any member to be dismissed with or without cause. Rec districts opposed the measure in large part because they fear it will erode their autonomy.

Read an expanded story on this topic in The Times on Wednesday.