Mayor-President vetoes $7M Louisiana Ave. extension to fund drainage

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LAFAYETTE, LA — The extension of Louisiana Avenue could reach a dead-end in next year’s budget.

Wednesday Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux vetoed the City-Parish Council’s decision to keep $7 million toward constructing a connection between Butcher Switch and Gloria Switch Roads.

Jay Castille introduced the amendment to Robideuax’s budget. At this month’s budget meeting he said, “We’ve fought long and hard to get this project to where it’s at, and I don’t want to see it die with the last section hanging out there”.

Right now Louisiana Avenue ends at Butcher Switch Road. Bidding to complete the last stretch was expected to happen next year, but it’s hit a roadblock.

“I felt like drainage is the obvious place to put that money”, said Mayor-President regarding the topic at the city-parish council meeting September 5.

Robideaux original budget called for the $7 million dollars to be added to his storm water diversion fund. The council already approved $39 million dollars to his fund but denied him the Louisiana Avenue money in a 5-4 vote.

“I just didn’t feel like we should be spending city dollars outside the city limits”, Robideax said.

His memo claims the earlier phases of Louisiana Avenue were built inside city limits, and anything built passed Butcher Switch Road would be in the unincorporated area of Lafayette Parish.

Lafayette residents I spoke to on Butcher Switch Road agree with the mayor.

“I think we will benefit as a city more for drainage”, Loretta Murray told me.

Her street was annexed into Lafayette in 1977 and sees significant flooding during downpours, but a resident who lives off Gloria Switch Road sees things from the other side.

“They really need to make that road come to Gloria Switch”, said Harry Schexnayder. Lafayette his area in 1992, and he wants more connection to the city.

“I think you take the money and make that road come all the way”, said Schexnayder. “Take that money and spend it on the roads”.

In Mayor-President’s Robideaux’s veto memo he said, “It would be grossly irresponsible for the city of lafayette to build, own, and maintain a road only to have another municipality annex the property around it”.

With the veto, a 6-3 vote will be necessary to keep the road funded.

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