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Lafayette City-Parish Council split: What’s next?

Posted at 10:17 PM, Dec 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-10 23:23:43-05

Elections for the new Lafayette city and parish councils will take place next October.

On Saturday, voters approved a charter amendment splitting the current nine-member consolidated council into two separate five-member bodies.

The amendment also creates separate city and parish planning and zoning boards.

The change to the charter passed overwhelmingly in the City of Lafayette but did not receive much support elsewhere in the parish.

Of the 77 precincts that approved the amendment, only six were outside Lafayette city limits.

The new councils won’t take office for another 13 months.

Still, some Lafayette city leaders are excited for what’s ahead.

“Lafayette City-Parish Council is not going away immediately. We still have over 12 months in office,” said Councilman Bruce Conque, who’s district only consists of city residents.

When the consolidated council does go away, the separate city and parish councils will still work together from time to time, like when approving the Public Works budget.

“When it comes to providing the services, mostly in public works, then we’ll come together as one body and approve a budget for Lafayette Consolidated Government, which continues to exist under the administration of the Mayor-President,” said Conque.

Term limits for current City-Parish Council members will remain in effect.

“We did a rollover of the existing terms. There are four members on the current City-Parish Council who are terming out. They will not be allowed to run for election to either one of the bodies. The remaining five, of those five 4 can actually run for either city or parish council. Kevin Naquin can run or one more term on the parish council,” said the councilman.

Conque said the council split is not the answer to all the problems in the parish, but he believes it is a step in the right direction for both the city and parish.

“That was the whole premise of going after this change in our charter. The City of Lafayette can focus on what’s theirs, or ours. And the parish needs to address those issues where they have shortcomings and shortfalls in budget,” he said.

Conque tells us he’s been asked by some people about increasing the size of the new city council to seven members.

He said LCG’s legal team told him the City-Parish Charter prohibits the council from taking up that issue for one year because it’s considered to be the same issue that just went before voters.