by BEN MYERS
LAFAYETTE — Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux on Tuesday defended his plan to split the Lafayette Utilities System from LUS Fiber, both of which have operated sister publicly owned companies under a single director since LUS Fiber ramped up nine years ago, the Advocate reports.
LUS Fiber offers high-speed telecommunications service, and recently retired LUS Director Terry Huval was instrumental in overcoming years of legal battles to get it off the ground. With Huval out, Robideaux wants separate directors for the fiber network and the utilities system, which offers water, wastewater and electric services.
Robideaux, speaking at a budget hearing Tuesday, appeared to mostly win over Councilman Bruce Conque, the City-Parish Council’s only vocal skeptic of the plan.
“I’m not quite ready to commit to it, but you certainly went a long way to convincing me,” Conque said after Robideaux had finished speaking.
Conque initially said he was concerned about divorcing the two agencies with several uncertainties facing the utilities system. They include the possibility of a privatization deal for the electric division of the utilities system, as well as a pending state audit concerning payments from the utilities system to LUS Fiber for services that were never rendered.
Read the full story at the Advocate.