LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – The first town hall meeting was held Monday night, about the possible charter amendment to create separate city and parish councils in Lafayette.
Liz Hebert with District 8 and Bruce Conque with District 6, met with their constituents at the South Regional Library.
At last Tuesday’s city-parish council meeting, the council voted 5-3 to introduce an ordinance calling for the home rule charter amendment.
It will be up for final approval next month.
“To inform the public. There are a lot of questions out there that need to be answered, and there’s a lot of misinformation that needs to be addressed,” said Bruce Conque, Lafayette City-Parish Council member for District 6.
“Since our introductory meeting last week, people mentioned that they wanted there to be more information on this split-council ordinance,” said Liz Hebert, Lafayette City-Parish Council member for District 8.
Conque’s district covers 100% of city residents, while Hebert’s district covers about 90% of city residents.
Both council members point to issues with the current form of government, especially to the lack of autonomy for the city, unequal representation, and lack of focus on parish issues by parish leaders..
“The parish should be able to stand up on its own fiscal legs. It hasn’t done that since 1996, it doesn’t do that today,” said Conque.
He says this is not deconsolidation, as the mayor-presidenet would retain his role, but term limits would be reset.
Many audience members asked questions and mentioned things like, ‘this isn’t something we should rush into, voting for a city and parish government would be too much.’
Others had a concern over the growth of government, what the status would be on LCG public works, where this idea came from, and why the entire parish should vote on the ordeal when this directly affects the city of Lafayette.
Most people were wondering why this whole process, seems as if it’s being rushed…
“They (city and parish) do have different needs, different wants and different concerns. I think this will help in the next council, and in the council moving forward, so that they can focus on the needs of their specific district,” said Hebert.
If this motion is approved on August 7, a parish-wide election would still have to take place in December.
Then, elections for both councils would be in the fall of 2019, and council members would be effective starting in January of 2020.