Lafayette councilmen propose to split city and parish councils

Posted at 11:01 PM, Jun 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-26 00:01:15-04

Some members of the Lafayette City-Parish Council are looking to give the city more autonomy, without fully deconsolidating the city and parish governments.

That discussion has been around as long as consolidation.

Back in 1992, voters in the city approved consolidation, but parish voters rejected the measure.

A lawsuit filed a few years later sought to invalidate the election, it was thrown out on a technicality.

And in 2011, voters rejected a measure that would have deconsolidated the city and parish governments.

This new plan would keep the city and parish governments consolidated, but would give the city of Lafayette its own five-person city council, and shrink the parish council to five members.

"It’s gotten to a point where you can’t kick the can down the road anymore because there’s no more road and there’s no more can to kick. So it’s time for the parish to start addressing the issues on its own," said Councilman Jay Castille, who represents a majority-parish district.

Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux says consolidation was proposed 22 years ago as a way to shrink government.

But, he says that wasn’t the case.

"When consolidation was first proposed, what was proposed and what we ended up with were two different things. But we went forward anyway," said Boudreaux.

Castille says amending the charter to create two separate councils for the city and the parish will help the parish in the long run.

"What it’s going to do is let parish council focus on strictly parish-needs, which includes everyone, and how to solve those needs and problems," said Castille.

Both Castille and Boudreaux believe this could help fix the way LCG functions.

"This will afford the City of Lafayette the autonomy that every other city in the parish gets to enjoy at this time. It is in the best interest of the City of Lafayette, its residents, its business owners and its partners in the parish. It will not cost anything additional to the city," said Boudreaux.

While their plan calls for separate councils, it keeps the mayor and parish president positions, as well as other aspects of LCG, consolidated.

"As far as the entire government, there is still the belief that a consolidated government is in Lafayette’s best interest," said Boudreaux.

"It’s really a better way to spend the money and bring it to the people to have them better understand their government," explained Castille.

Councilman William Theriot, says he disagrees with the plan.

He believes there is another option.

"The only way to fix the problem is for the unincorporated areas to be sliced up and everyone takes a piece of the pie," said Theriot.

Meanwhile, Boudreaux, Castille and some other councilmen plan to put the split-council proposal on the December ballot.