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City-Parish Alignment Commission causing concern among city council

Posted at 5:45 PM, Jul 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-07 18:45:54-04

LAFAYETTE, La. — The debate over the success of the Lafayette Consolidated Government for the area continues.

At Tuesday's meeting, the Parish Council voted to create the City-Parish Alignment Commission. According to the agenda item, the commission will provide recommendations to strengthen the working relationship between the city of Lafayette and Lafayette Parish.

Some city council members are seeking separation of the municipality.

City council member Patrick Lewis says one of his main concerns is the city of Lafayette should have its own mayor, like all other cities in the parish. Now that the commission was passed, he says the possibility of a city mayor is delayed.

“So, where is the mayor of Youngsville, or Broussard, or Carencro, Scott, Duson? They spend 100% of their time in their particular city,” said Lewis, who represents District 1. “Whereas, we have a Mayor-President that spends how much time in the city of Lafayette? And how much time in the parish?”

Parish council member Josh Carlson says otherwise.

“I would argue that they do have a dedicated mayor,” said Carlson. “And we have a dedicated parish-president, that’s filled by one person, just not two.”

Another concern from the city council – those who live in unincorporated areas of the parish, don’t pay city taxes. Lewis says some of those people still want the same services as those who live within city limits.

Carlson says, that’s not true.

“The people who live in the unincorporated parts of the parish don’t get city utilities, they don’t get city water, power, sewer... They don’t get the city police or city fire, and therefore they don’t pay those taxes,” said Carlson.

Carlson says benefits to having a consolidated-style government include not having repeat services and having more leverage at the state level -- especially for funding.

Lewis says that system takes away the city’s autonomy.

“That’s the way the system is designed, that Lafayette can’t control its own destiny... Its own autonomy. It cannot. The parish has a lot to do with it,” said Lewis.

Meanwhile, Carlson says the city does have control and the city council sets “a lot of the agenda, the budget’s money.”

Carlson believes the city council has a large impact and decision-making ability for the direction of the city of Lafayette.

Lewis says none of the parish council members live in areas where they have to pay city taxes.

Yet, he tells KATC, they still manage the budget that affects the city and its taxpayers.
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