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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

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Galliano Permit Office opening rankles councilman

Galliano Permit Office opening rankles councilman

The opening of a satellite permit office in Galliano has Lafourche Parish Councilman Daniel Lorraine upset over how many days it serves residents.

“One day a week … ain’t no way I’m going to go along with that,” he said in reference to the office’s schedule, which was Wednesdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Although Permit Director Tony Breaux assured the full Council at Tuesday’s public meeting that the Galliano office will soon change to Mondays and Thursdays, Lorraine was not satisfied.

Lorraine responded that the press releases about the opening of the two offices in Thibodaux and Galliano are confusing, and that one day a week in Galliano is unacceptable.

He quoted an April 16th article in the Daily Comet which stated the Thibodaux office opening on Mondays and Thursdays, and the Galliano office opening on Wednesdays.

Lorraine also cited a similar press release to the Lafourche Gazette that states the Galliano office is open Mondays and Thursdays.

Director Breaux said that although the Galliano office is now open only on Wednesdays, it will begin two days a week as soon as Monday.

“This has been a big misunderstanding,” responded Lorraine. “If we could have sat down we could have worked it out. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. The Administration’s promise to make the permit department more accessible to the people who need it has not been kept,” he said.

Lorraine noted that the Thibodaux office has been open for the past two months while Galliano has not.

“If Thibodaux has two days, we (lower Lafourche) want two days. We want equal representation.” One day is not enough,” said the District 9 councilman.

Lorraine crunched the numbers from the first quarter of this year regarding the number of permits. From Jan. 1 to the end of March, the Mathews location issued 123 permits. Thibodaux issued 165 permits in the same period.

“South Lafourche office gave out 93 permits in the same time, and nobody knows it’s open yet. So a lot came north to Mathews,” he said.

Lorraine believes that if the Galliano office stays open for two days a week, the numbers will diminish in Mathews.

He gave an example of how satellite offices can become full time centers of operation.

“I met with the parish assessor Wendy Thibodaux recently. She said she wanted to open an office in Lockport one day a week. It has since grown to five days weekly in a short period of time,” said Lorraine.

To parish administrator Don Matherne, Lorraine demanded he be given monthly statistics to include where the permits are needed and where they are submitted.

Parish President Jimmy Cantrelle noted that he has tried to use the same number of personnel parishwide to do permits.

“We do not have extra personnel. We are training people now. It takes time to set up three offices,” he said.

“It’s a matter of economics. It’s hard to send someone (to Galliano) and get one or two permits daily. It costs the parish more money. We based Thibodaux on 10 permits per day. Galliano doing 1 or 2 permits per day just don’t pay. We understand where you (Lorraine) are coming from. We want to serve the people but we have to have the demand,” he said.

The Galliano office is located inside the South Lafourche Library Building, 16241 East Main, Suite B-10, and will be open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., (985) 632-4666.

Citizens can also obtain permits and information from offices at the main governmental complex in Mathews from Monday thru Thursday and from the Thibodaux satellite permit office located at 2535 Veterans on Mondays and Thursdays from 7:30 am until 4:30 pm.