Council duo want committee named
LAFAYETTE — Two city-parish councilmen pressed fellow members Tuesday to organize a committee to discuss changes in Lafayette’s city-parish home rule charter.
A charter commission recommended last year that voters decide whether to dismantle it, and voters rejected the concept in October.
Councilman Keith Patin said residents have requested the council continue dialogue on “unresolved issues.”
Some options discussed by the charter commission included creating a separate Lafayette city council, while preserving other aspects of city-parish government.
Some concerns centered on council members who represent rural areas having an equal vote on city-centered services.
While voters rejected dissolving city-parish government, they also sent a “message” that “some tweaks” are needed, council member Kenneth Boudreaux said.
The council’s balance of power is an issue because despite the consolidation of some aspects of the city and parish governments in 1996, the city of Lafayette remains a distinct legal entity, with separate taxes and its own Police Department, Fire Department and publicly owned utility system.
Five members represent largely city districts and four members represent districts mainly outside of the city. Any charter amendments would voter require approval.
Councilman Don Bertrand said he would like to see potential amendments on a ballot in April and not waste any more time.
Boudreaux requested that council Chairman Jared Bellard organize a volunteer committee or appoint council members to organize a committee.
Bellard said he would consider the request.
“We voted on this,” Bellard said. “I think we need to have more discussion.”
Boudreaux asked Bellard to let the council to know in 10 days whether he would support a committee or other council members will take the steps necessary to get the issue on the agenda.
Boudreaux later said he plans to bring forth his own resolution to organize a committee.
Prior to the charter discussion, the Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority discussed its plans to create its own administration and oversee a first-time home buyers program that has been administered by the city-parish Community Development Office. The agencies have different income limits for who qualifies for their homebuyers programs and different funding sources.
The city-parish will still operate a first time home buyer assistance program, but no longer with the Financing Authority’s assistance, according to Patricia Lyendecker, interim director for the city-parish Community Development Office.
The Lafayette Public Trust Financing Authority has more money to work with and different funding, she said.
Financing Authority Chairman John Arceneaux said the agency planned to continue to operate the program and has no plans to lower its income requirements because fewer people would receive assistance.
Lyendecker said her office will continue to work with the Financing Authority’s program and both offices will refer clients to the appropriate assistance program.