Lafayette City District 1 Councilman Pat Lewis is proposing a resolution that would form a committee from which to gather the input of a diverse range of citizens on the benefits of City-Parish consolidation to the City of Lafayette. From 2011 through 2018, measures brought to the voters for deconsolidation and amendments to the Lafayette City-Parish Home Rule Charter have been unsuccessful and have proven to be punitive to the City of Lafayette. The level of autonomy that the majority of voters throughout Lafayette Parish desired for the City of Lafayette in 2018 has not been realized after the first year of separate City and Parish Councils, particularly involving joint City-Parish matters that require input from both Councils. Unfairly, the associated expenditures are oftentimes funded almost entirely by City of Lafayette tax dollars, over which the City Council has not been allowed control. Even the City Council’s attempt to retain its own legal counsel for its independent interpretation of the Home Rule Charter has been stifled by the administration.
Therefore, the proposed resolution seeks to form the “Protect the City” Committee for the purpose of providing an open, public, transparent forum for the discussion of the City’s continuing problems with consolidation . The Committee’s composition would be seven (7) members, providing for each of the five (5) City Council Districts to directly appoint a single Committee member and for two (2) appointments to be made by the City Council, as a whole, from resume submissions by registered Lafayette Parish voters residing in the City of Lafayette. The Committee would be tasked to examine topics ranging from the City Council’s best approach at protecting City tax dollars, to protection of the ratepayer-owned Lafayette Utilities System, to the expenditure of City tax dollars outside of its limits, to whether consolidation or deconsolidation benefits the City of Lafayette, and much more. At the conclusion of its work, the Committee would provide a final report to the City Council so that decisions could be made on next steps that may be pursued.
Citizens are strongly encouraged to participate in this process through public comment opportunities. This proposed resolution will be considered for adoption at the Lafayette City Council meeting scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 19, 2021 in the Council Auditorium at Lafayette City-Parish Hall, located at 705 West University Avenue.