A advisory board started work this week to decide whether to change the way Terrebonne Parish delivers recreation services to residents.
Most of the Recreation Modernization Advisory Board’s meeting Wednesday night dealt with organizational issues.
Terrebonne officials and residents have debated for years whether to merge some or all of the parish’s 11 rec districts. As it stands, parish government handles the recreational programs offered to residents, while individual districts are responsible for building and maintaining parks, gyms and related facilities.
Critics have said the parish isn’t getting its money’s worth for the amount of tax money that goes to recreation. They have cited vast differences both in the taxes residents within the districts pay and the quality of the facilities the receive.
Opponents say the current system works well and that merging the districts would remove oversight from neighborhoods and communities, which are best suited for running recreation facilities.
More: New board to examine recreation issues in Terrebonne
Parish Council members Jessica Domangue and Darrin Guidry laid out the advisory board’s mission. Domangue listed a few main areas of focus, including facilities, duplication of services, cost savings and waste.
Task Force Chairman Michael LaRussa led brainstorming on who the group would hear from in its next three meetings.
The panel’s goal is to send a plan to the Parish Council by Oct. 31, 2021.
“We are tasked to give them a plan,” LaRussa said. “Like it or not, we don’t have final say so, that’s the Council that has final say so.”
Members suggested some presenters at future meetings could include parish government Human Resources Director Dana Ortego, Assessor Loney Grabert, coaches, parents and heads of clubs such as biking and running groups.
The board voted unanimously to add two ad-hoc positions. These positions get a seat at the discussions but lack any voting power in the meetings.
One position went to Erica Lambert, who had applied for the Rec. 2-3 representative seat on the advisory panel. The second seat will be filled by Laura Browning, currently vice chairwoman of the parish president’s recreation advisory board and a member of the Rec. District 6 board in Bourg.