Next Gen, the company who has submitted a budget to manage LUS, now hs temporary headquarters in Lafayette.
The company is renting out a portion of the Omni Center on Jefferson Street as what they are calling a “community Engagement Center”.
The Director of the company, Jeff Baudier, said the group hopes to be in Lafayette permanently and this center is a way to help the public understand their plans.
“We’re proposing to bring a new business to Lafayette. To make a significant investment specifically to the Lafayette Utility System and their employees,” Baudier said.
The company says they saw no better opportunity than to set up downtown, to educate people on how they see the future of Lafayette.
“We will initially partner with the management and employees of LUS. All of which as our deal would remain as employees and remain with their benefits and all their jobs at LUS. We are also proposing to create a new company that would bring 400 jobs to Lafayette to manage 50 utility systems across the southern United States.”
There are people outside the door greeting those who walk by and inviting them to learn more about who they are. Inside, there’s seating for longer conversation and even employees making calls to prospective future customers.
“What we are really asking to continue to do is to allow to continue discussing with the citizens of Lafayette. We just want to talk. If ultimately Lafayette decides this is not what the citizens want, we understand that. We are asking that the conversation continue.”
Next Gen is who Mayor-President Joel Robideaux has entered into a non-binding agreement with to take over LUS. KATC reached out to the Mayor-President about the engagement center and his office said they didn’t know anything about it.
The owner of the Omni Center says all events will go on as normal.