Todd Lambert’s undeniable record of fiscal restraint and responsible development

On October 3, 1996 District 9 Parish Councilman Todd Lambert cast a vote against raising the Parish President’s salary to $65,000; ten months later he opposed a raise for the Parish Council, doing so again on May 3, 2012.  On November 7, 1996 Lambert supported a moratorium on “multi-unit” residential structures, followed by his majority vote to impose drainage impact studies on subdivision development on March 6, 1997 (it would be vetoed).  Public criticism of Ascension’s council oft centers on wasteful spending and a refusal to hold development to account; criticism that is misplaced when leveled at the Council’s longest serving member.

With Election Day nearly upon us, Lambert has endured much of the same criticism aimed at other incumbents.  The palpable anti-incumbency mood centers around wasteful spending and pandering to developers.  Lambert’s lengthy voting record does not justify the criticism.

His reputation as the Council’s “fiscal hawk” is well-earned over two decades opposing irresponsible spending in large…

Budget amendment to divert nearly $3 million for expansion of gym at Lamar Dixon Expo Center on March 21, 2019.

small…(Lambert opposed placing the one-mill Animal Control tax on the ballot (it was adopted by voters on December 8, 2018) for a second time in 2018 after doing so in 1998.

and smaller amounts…

This vote appropriated $15,000 to an expert who’d already been on the job for a month.

Which is not to say Lambert never supports expenditures, there just better be a compelling justification.  On September 6, 2018…

Vote to appropriate $75,000 for SSA Consultants to write employee job descriptions. Still not done by the way.

there was none and he opposed spending $75,000 to hire an outside firm to write employee job descriptions and create performance metrics, neither of which have been accomplished after 13 months.  He was right, just as he was voting against a $450,000 allocation to hire CPEX to draft a new Master Land Use Plan on December 21, 2017.

If you want a council member who guards the public purse, Todd Lambert is for you.

Lambert has opposed nearly every tax initiative placed on the ballot, along with most millage renewals.

Is there an issue that causes more angst to Ascension residents than perceived over-development of residential subdivisions?

The issue is not a new one.  On January 2, 1997 Ascension’s governing authority began considering “a Flood Damage Prevention ordinance” because “Ascension Parish is in an emergency situation in regards to subdivision development.”  A 1992 flood prevention ordinance, adopted by Ascension’s Police Jury before voters opted for Home Rule, has been roundly ignored.  By any metric, Ascension failed to prepare for the overwhelming population growth which has strained infrastructure, especially the parish’s road network and drainage/flood control.

Lambert has a lengthy record of fighting for regulation of those subdivisions, oftentimes opposing individual developments.  Most recently it was Todd Lambert who turned back one of the more ill-conceived residential subdivisions, already denied Amalfi Cove… 

Councilman Todd Lambert takes stand against subdivision development

whose developer attempted an end run to build a 105-lot subdivision on 35.7 acres along one of the most substandard roads in Ascension Parish…Cannon Road near its intersection with Roddy Road.

Compare that to his District 7 colleague who engineered approval of Oak Grove Townhouses, which had already been denied.  Convened as the Planning Commission Appeals Board, a motion was made to defer consideration by Councilman Aaron Lawler culminating in eventual approval.  Lambert opposed that deferral and, we suspect, would have voted to deny the development had he been afforded the opportunity.

February 15, 2018

A decade ago Lambert opposed Keystone of Galvez with multiple votes against the development.  Ultimately, his opposition was overcome.

Unlike many of his colleagues, including his council namesake from District 5, Todd Lambert has never taken a dollar in campaign contributions from the development community (unless $200 from a carpenters union in 2003 fits the bill).  He has, by and large, attempted to hold those developers to account, most strikingly when the building community pushed to abolish a Planning Commission that did not rubber-stamp every subdivision that came before it.

That was eight years ago when Lambert opposed abolition of a then 11-member panel on December 1, 2011.  He was on the wrong side of that vote as the council sought to reconfigure the body as a more easily controlled 5-member Planning Commission.  It was Todd Lambert who pushed the compromise which resulted in the current seven-member configuration.

In no way can Todd Lambert be accused of being in the developers’ pockets.  Consider…

If District 9’s voters want fiscal restraint and responsible development, Todd Lambert is their candidate.