Terrebonne Council rejects moratorium on rec district bonds, purchases of immovable property

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A measure to temporarily limit recreation districts while the parish implements recommendations from the Terrebonne Parish Recreation Modernization Task Force failed to pass at Wednesday’s council meeting. 


Last night, the Terrebonne Parish Council voted 6-3 against an ordinance to enact a moratorium, effective through May 30, on the purchase of immovable property by any rec district in the parish and the presentation by any district to the council of any bond issues to provide for related matters.


Councilwoman Jessica Domangue, who spearheaded the task force, introduced the moratorium to ensure the upcoming proceedings with legislation related to the committee’s findings would go as planned.  


Released in March, Recreation Modernization Task Force’s recommendations include merging four of the parish’s 11 rec districts: 1, 2-3, 8 and 9. 


Teri Chatagnier, representing the Rec 1 board, asked the council during yesterday’s meeting to vote against the moratorium. The former councilwoman said that the district, which consists of Bayou Blue and Schriever, is already in the process of applying for a bond for a new park and the moratorium would derail those plans. 


“Effective immediately, a moratorium is and shall be enacted on all bonding applications and issues sought by any Recreation District in Terrebonne Parish. This moratorium is intended to prohibit and prevent any Recreation District from adopting any bonding application or issue, presenting any bonding application or issue to the Terrebonne Parish Council and/or Bonding Commission, and hiring any professionals for a fee to perform work or provide services towards these matters,” the ordinance reads. 


According to Chatagnier, the bond has to be approved by the council soon for Rec 1 to take advantage of the lower interest rates. 


“This bond is for the next seven years. This is not something that I can take a chance on,” she said. “…If you want a lower rate, you need to be in line. And that’s what we want, and we know what the payments will be. We know how much money we have, and we know what we can do.” 


Domangue told Chatagnier she wasn’t sure if the interest rates would change in the next few weeks.


“Ms. Domangue, you’re not a banker, and I’m not either,” she responded. “So, that’s just something that we don’t know.” 


Councilman John Navy voiced support for the moratorium but wanted to make sure the districts that were already proceeding with related matters would be excluded. 


Some council members expressed that the moratorium would hinder the rec districts’ ability to move forward with projects. 


“I just don’t see any reason for trying to put our fingers in the rec districts’ eye, rubbing it in their face that we’re trying to do something to hold them back again,” council member Steve Trosclair said. “The rec districts are doing a great job. There may be some problems in some areas of some districts, but since we’ve instituted the oversight, I think we’ve come a long ways in getting these rec districts in compliance and things have turned around. And I don’t see the reason to try to poke them in the eye again.”


Councilman Carl Harding noted that the council appoints the board and gives them the responsibility “to do the job.” He added that he understands the rec members’ situation, knowing what it’s like to be “handcuffed” when trying to get projects finished. 


Chatagnier also highlighted that Rec 1 has been in negotiations for over a year for the park’s property and has spent thousands on studies. “This park is not something that we decided we didn’t have anything else to do,” she said. “So, we want this moratorium to be voted against tonight.”


Here’s how the vote to approve the moratorium went down:


For: Jessica Domangue, John Navy and Darrin Guidry.

Against: Daniel Babin, Carl Harding, Dirk Guidry, Gerald Michel, Steve Trosclair and John Amedée