|Photo by Kari Walker|
[Editor's Note: The full transcript of Durel's speech follows this report.]
In his penultimate State of the Parish address Wednesday in the Cajundome Convention Center, City-Parish President Joey Durel mixed some bold ideas about consolidation and revenue into an otherwise optimistic speech.
Most notable among Durel’s proposals was a so-called “One Cent, One Year, One Project” sales tax plan — that is, asking Lafayette voters to approve a one-cent sales tax that lasts only one year and is earmarked for a single, specific project. First out of the gate would be to expand Lafayette Regional Airport by building a new terminal and making other improvements.
“A new terminal would meet the needs of larger aircraft, provide more boarding gates for more planes and better facilities like parking, security, boarding and baggage claims,” Durel said. “If we move quickly, a vote could take place in time for a 1-cent sales tax to start Jan. 1, 2015 and sunset Dec. 31, 2015.”
Durel added in a post-presentation Q&A with IND staff members that a “One Cent, One Year, One Project” could also be applied to projects like the South College extension/Vermilion River bridge, either as a parish-wide or city-wide sales tax.
Durel also said he will ask the City-Parish Council to approve an election asking voters to decide whether to consolidate two existing property taxes devoted to the parish health unit and mosquito control into a single Public Health millage that would also fund animal control services. The health unit and mosquito control taxes bring in more revenue than are needed to provide the services while animal control services are currently funded only by city of Lafayette taxes (the other municipalities reimburse the city for animal control services).
“With voter approval this would be accomplished without raising property taxes one penny,” Durel stressed. “Let me say that a different way: this is not a tax increase but a rededication of existing funding.”
In addition to his revenue proposals, Durel took aim at Lafayette’s current form of consolidated government, telling the audience, “Lafayette deserves the ability to govern itself just like every city in the parish — in fact, the same as every city in America.”
But Durel was quick to add that consolidation in its current form — the city of Lafayette and the unincorporated parish are the only two entities within Lafayette Consolidated Government, and they operate on separate accounting books; the other five municipalities are autonomous — needs “tweaking, not deconsolidating.”
Durel hinted that if the council remains unwilling to appoint a charter commission to propose means of giving Lafayette the right to self-governance, a legislative remedy may be in order: “Either we tweak it locally or our [legislative] delegation needs to undo this mistake by giving the citizens of the city the ability to vote independently on how they are governed.”
THIS IS THE SECOND TO LAST TIME I WILL HAVE THE PLEASURE OF MEETING WITH YOU TO DISCUSS THE STATE OF OUR CITY AND PARISH. IT HAS BEEN A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO COMMUNICATE OUR ISSUES, DREAMS, AND DIRECTION, SO THANK YOU TO IBERIA BANK AND THE INDEPENDENT.
LET ME ALSO THANK GREGG GOTHREAUX AND THE REST OF THE HEAD TABLE UP HERE. WE WILL TALK MORE ABOUT WHY YOU ARE HERE LATER.
FOR YEARS I HAVE SAID WE HAVE TO RAISE THE BAR. WE SHOULD NOT BE SAYING THAT WE WANT TO BE THE AUSTIN OF LOUISIANA, OUR GOAL SHOULD BE TO ACHIEVE MUCH MORE THAN THAT; OUR GOAL SHOULD BE TO HAVE AUSTIN WANT TO BE THE LAFAYETTE OF TEXAS!
WELL, THIS PAST YEAR AREA DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE SAID THAT SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA IN SILICON VALLEY WAS THE SECOND BEST OVERALL CITY IN AMERICA. THEY SAID THAT AUSTIN WAS THE FIFTH BEST OVERALL CITY IN AMERICA. AND, THE CITY THAT THEY SAID WAS THE NUMBER ONE OVERALL CITY IN AMERICA TODAY… LAFAYETTE, LOUISIANA!
WE LOVE BEING THE TASTIEST CITY AND BEST FOOD CITY, BECAUSE WE ARE. BUT, FOR A BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MAGAZINE TO SAY WHAT THEY SAID ABOUT LAFAYETTE, TELLS US WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT OUR AREA.
HERE ARE JUST A FEW RECOGNITIONS FROM 2013:
17TH BEST COLLEGE TOWN IN AMERICA
UL TOP 15 SCHOOLS FOR ANIMATION AND GAME DESIGN IN THE SOUTH
LEADING MSA FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH; #1 REGIONALLY, #1 IN POPULATION CATEGORY, AND #1 OVERALL
TOP 10 SMALL AMERICAN CITY OF THE FUTURE
14TH BEST GDP GROWTH IN AMERICA
FESTIVAL INTERNATIONAL WAS PICKED AS BEST MUSIC FESTIVAL
YOU CAN SEE ALL OF THIS AND MORE AT THE LEDA WEBSITE. AND, LEDA’S EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR IS GREGG GOTHREAUX.
BELL HELICOPTER RECENTLY ANNOUNCED THAT THEY WILL LOCATE A NEW FACILITY IN LAFAYETTE. THE COMPANY WILL PRODUCE ITS NEW “SLS” HELICOPTER AT LAFAYETTE REGIONAL AIRPORT, LEADING TO THE FIRST MODERN-ERA AIRCRAFT ASSEMBLY FACILITY IN LOUISIANA. THE PROJECT WILL CREATE 115 NEW DIRECT JOBS AVERAGING MORE THAN $55,000 PER YEAR, PLUS BENEFITS.
WE ALWAYS APPRECIATE IT WHEN SOMEONE CHOOSES LAFAYETTE.
HERE WITH US TODAY FROM BELL IS JJ WALKER, AND I’D LIKE TO ASK HER TO STAND UP SO YOU CAN SAY THANK YOU WITH A WARM LAFAYETTE WELCOME.
WE ALL FEEL GOOD ABOUT THE FUTURE WITH WHERE THE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY IS, ALONG WITH THE THRIVING AND EXPANDING MEDICAL INDUSTRY.
AND, LET’S NOT FORGET OUR RETAILERS THAT ARE MAKING LAFAYETTE A SHOPPING HUB FOR MORE THAN JUST ACADIANA.
IT IS EXCITING TO BE A PART OF WHAT IS HAPPENING IN OUR CITY AND PARISH TODAY; WE HAVE ALREADY STARTED REAPING SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF THE DESIRABILITY OF OUR COMMUNITY.
WE’RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO WORK DILIGENTLY AND EXPECT TO HAVE SOME MORE VERY EXCITING AND SIGNIFICANT ANNOUNCEMENTS IN 2014.
WITH THE TREMENDOUS INVESTMENT OCCURRING IN THE SOUTHEASTERN PART OF OUR STATE, THE CONTINUED REBUILDING OF NEW ORLEANS, AND BEING RIGHT DOWN THE ROAD FROM BATON ROUGE, WE ARE AT THE CROSSROADS, MAKING IT ALL THE MORE IMPORTANT TO GET I-49 SOUTH COMPLETED.
I AM THRILLED TO SEE THAT THE STATE HAS TURNED THEIR FOCUS ON TO THAT HIGHWAY.
LAKE CHARLES MAYOR RANDY ROACH AND I, ALONG WITH THE CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATIONS IN ACADIANA AND THE SOUTHEAST, CONTINUE TO WORK TOGETHER FOR THE COMMON GOOD OF OUR “SUPER REGION.”
THIS, OF COURSE, INCLUDES GREGG GOTHREAUX.
EVERYTHING WE HAVE DONE FOR THE PAST TEN YEARS HAS BEEN ABOUT IMPROVING OUR QUALITY OF LIFE, THAT IS, MAKING LAFAYETTE A GREAT PLACE TO LIVE, WORK, AND RAISE A FAMILY.
IT REALLY ISN’T ALL THAT COMPLICATED. IT ALWAYS STARTS WITH BEING A SAFE COMMUNITY, SO WE HAVE INVESTED IN OUR POLICE FORCE, INCLUDING PRECINCT SUBSTATIONS, AND WE ARE WORKING ON GETTING TWO NEW FIRE STATIONS UP AND RUNNING. WE HAVE JUST FOUND OUT THAT WE WILL KEEP OUR CLASS 2 RATING, GOOD NEWS FOR OUR INSURANCE RATES! GOOD JOB, CHIEF BENOIT!
WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO SUPPORT THE ARTS, MAYBE EVEN STEP IT UP A NOTCH, AND WE ARE CONSTANTLY LOOKING FOR NEW AREAS TO ADD MORE BIKE LANES.
AND, OF COURSE WE ARE A VERY WELCOMING COMMUNITY.
WE ARE IMPROVING HOW MUCH GREEN SPACE WE HAVE; THE MASTER PLAN FOR OUR NEW CENTRAL PARK IS UNDERWAY, SO I WANT TO ONCE AGAIN THANK THE LAFAYETTE CENTRAL PARK BOARD FOR WHAT THEY ARE DOING FOR LAFAYETTE.
WOULD ANY BOARD MEMBERS PLEASE STAND UP SO WE CAN THANK YOU?
IF WE ARE GOING TO CONTINUE TO RECEIVE THE KINDS OF ACCOLADES WE HAVE BEEN GETTING IN RECENT YEARS, STRIVING TO MAKE THE CITY AND PARISH OF LAFAYETTE THE BEST WE CAN BE, WE HAVE GOT TO CONTINUE TO USE OUR MONEY EFFICIENTLY, AND WISELY CHOOSE OUR PRIORITIES. THOSE PRIORITIES SHOULD BE BASED ON WHERE WE GET THE MOST RETURN ON OUR INVESTMENT. WE CAN HELP ENSURE ALL OF THIS BY MAKING SURE OUR COMPREHENSIVE PLAN IS IMPLEMENTED AND ADHERED TO, EVEN AS IT EVOLVES.
AS YOU KNOW, WE DISCOVERED CITY DOLLARS LEAKING INTO PARISH GOVERNMENT A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO. AND, TODAY, I FEEL BETTER ABOUT THE BUDGET THAN I EVER HAVE.
NOT BECAUSE WE HAVE ALL THE MONEY YOU WANT US TO SPEND, BUT AT LEAST WE HAVE A HANDLE ON IT AND HAVE STOPPED THE BLEEDING.
SINCE TAKING OFFICE TEN YEARS AGO, OUR BOND RATINGS HAVE DONE NOTHING BUT IMPROVE, SO THE BANKERS LIKE OUR CONSERVATIVE APPROACH AND THEY’VE REWARDED US.
BUT, THERE IS STILL WORK TO DO, BOTH FOR CITY GOVERNMENT, AND ESPECIALLY FOR PARISH GOVERNMENT.
TODAY, I AM PROPOSING TO DO SOMETHING TO HELP MAKE PARISH GOVERNMENT MORE EFFICIENT AND MORE ABLE TO OPERATE LIKE A BUSINESS. I WILL ASK THE COUNCIL TO SIMPLY ALLOW THE PEOPLE OF LAFAYETTE PARISH TO VOTE ON REDEDICATING TWO MILLAGES. THE PARISH HEALTH UNIT AND MOSQUITO CONTROL MILLAGES PRODUCE MORE MONEY THAN WE HAVE NEEDED IN PAST YEARS.
MY PROPOSAL IS TO COMBINE THEM AND ADD ANIMAL CONTROL, MAKING IT A NEW, SINGLE PUBLIC HEALTH MILLAGE.
WITH VOTER APPROVAL, THIS WOULD BE ACCOMPLISHED WITHOUT RAISING PROPERTY TAXES ONE PENNY. LET ME SAY THAT A DIFFERENT WAY: THIS IS NOT A TAX INCREASE, BUT A RE-DEDICATION OF EXISTING FUNDING.
THE BENEFITS ARE MANY, HERE IS THE LOGIC:
IT ALLOWS US MORE FLEXIBILITY IN SPENDING PUBLIC HEALTH DOLLARS; IT UNTIES OUR HANDS JUST A LITTLE, ALLOWING US TO BE MORE EFFICIENT.
ANIMAL CONTROL WHICH IS CURRENTLY A “CITY” FUNCTION BECOMES A “PARISH” FUNCTION, BUT NOT AN UNFUNDED MANDATE LIKE WE SO OFTEN GET SENT TO US.
WITHOUT RAISING TAXES, WE FREE UP NEARLY ONE MILLION DOLLARS THAT WILL GO DIRECTLY INTO THE CITY GENERAL FUND, AND ABOUT 300-THOUSAND DOLLARS WOULD GO TO THE PARISH GENERAL FUND. BEING A PARISH WIDE MILLAGE, THE MUNICIPALITIES WILL NO LONGER HAVE TO REIMBURSE THE CITY OF LAFAYETTE FOR ANIMAL CONTROL.
FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, WE WILL HAVE DEDICATED MONEY TO NOT ONLY OPERATE ANIMAL CONTROL, BUT TO BUILD A NEW STATE OF THE ART FACILITY THAT BETTER REPRESENTS THE BEST OVERALL CITY AND PARISH IN AMERICA.
FOR YEARS I’VE WANTED TO SEE MORE PUBLIC ART AROUND TOWN.
CAMELLIA GREEN, THAT SECTION OF CAMELLIA BOULEVARD, FROM JOHNSTON STREET TO THE RIVER IS THE PERFECT LOCATION FOR US TO START.
WE ARE WORKING WITH GERD AND THE ACA ON GETTING A GRANT TO FUND IT, AND BELIEVE PRIVATE MONEY CAN BE FOUND TO HELP WITH MATCHING DOLLARS.
SCULPTURES COULD BECOME MEMORIALS AND AREAS OF REFLECTION, BRINGING AWARENESS TO DISEASES LIKE ALZHEIMER’S AND CANCER, TWO DISEASES THAT KILL SO MANY, INCLUDING MY PARENTS. IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE COMPLICATED; WE CAN KEEP IT SIMPLE AND TASTEFUL.
WOULDN’T IT BE GREAT TO SEE A BIG BLUE DOG ON ONE END OF THE BOULEVARD, TO HONOR THE LATE GEORGE RODRIGUE?
YEARS AGO CHICAGO DID COWS, WE DID PELICANS.
AS I HAVE DRIVEN AROUND TOWN, I’VE LOOKED FOR WHAT COULD BECOME PUBLIC ART THAT ALREADY EXISTED. WE HAVE A LANDSCAPE ORDINANCE REQUIRING BUSINESSES TO HELP BEAUTIFY OUR CITY AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE, THEN, WE STICK HUGE, UGLY TRAFFIC AND UTILITY BOXES FRONT AND CENTER.
PART OF MY INSPIRATION WAS GRAFFITI. MY FIRST THOUGHT WAS TO GIVE THEM AN OUTLET TO USE THEIR TALENTS PRODUCTIVELY.
FIRE HYDRANTS WERE A THOUGHT.
THEN THOSE TRAFFIC CONTROL BOXES APPEARED. I WAS SO EXCITED TO BE A POLITICIAN WITH AN ORIGINAL THOUGHT!
THEN, AT A 705 FUNCTION DOWNTOWN, KATE DURIO MENTIONED THE UTILITY BOX IDEA TO ME. OF COURSE, I INSTANTLY ASSUMED GERD HAD SPILLED THE BEANS. I TOLD HER THAT NO ONE IN THE WORLD HAD EVER EVEN THOUGHT OF MY IDEA, SO SURELY SHE GOT IT FROM ME. SHE SIMPLY SMILED AND SAID “GOOGLE IT.” AS IT TURNS OUT CITIES ALL OVER THE WORLD HAVE JUMPED ON MY IDEA!
WE HAVE ALREADY FOUND MUCH ENTHUSIASM FOR THIS, INCLUDING THE ACA AND LCVC. BEN BERTHELOT HAS TOLD ME THAT THEY WILL PUT UP SOME MONEY TO HELP PAY THE ARTISTS, POSSIBLY IN THE FORM OF A MATCH, OR MAYBE AWARD MONEY TO VARIOUS CATEGORIES. I AM HAPPY TO SAY THAT ROBERT DAIGLE AND RIVER RANCH HAVE ALREADY SAID THEY WOULD LOVE TO PARTICIPATE. IT IS AN IDEA THAT COULD REALLY SPREAD. SCHOOLS, BUSINESSES, AND OTHERS MIGHT STEP UP TO “ADOPT” BOXES. WE ARE ALREADY PUTTING DETAILS TOGETHER ON RULES, TYPES OF PAINTS, ALONG WITH ISSUES LIKE MAKING SURE THEY ARE MAINTAINED.
I WANT TO THANK TOM CARROLL, WHO INSTANTLY SAID “YES” TO MAKING THOSE SILVER BOXES MORE ATTRACTIVE, WHILE STIMULATING THE CREATIVITY OF SO MANY IN OUR COMMUNITY.
THE GREATEST THREAT TO OUR FUTURE (PROSPERITY) IS CONSOLIDATION. Let me say that again…
AT LEAST AS IT EXISTS TODAY. WE NOW KNOW THE CITY HAS LOST MILLIONS OF DOLLARS AS A DIRECT RESULT OF CONSOLIDATION. NOW THAT WE HAVE CORRECTED THE OUTFLOW OF MONEY, PARISH GOVERNMENT IS WHERE IT WOULD HAVE BEEN YEARS AGO.
4 OUT OF 5 “CITY” COUNCILMEN VOTED TO APPOINT A CHARTER COMMISSION TO AMEND OUR CHARTER. BUT, THE COUNCIL AS A WHOLE VOTED 4-5 AGAINST APPOINTING A CHARTER COMMISSION TO WORK ON AMENDMENTS TO OUR CHARTER.
THE COUNCIL HAS MADE IT CLEAR THAT THEY DO NOT WANT TO ADDRESS THIS. BUT, IN HINDSIGHT, IT WAS BAD STATE LEGISLATION THAT CAUSED THIS, SO IT OCCURS TO ME THAT IT COULD BE CORRECTED WITH GOOD STATE LEGISLATION.
LAFAYETTE DESERVES THE ABILITY TO GOVERN ITSELF JUST LIKE EVERY CITY IN THE PARISH, IN FACT THE SAME AS EVERY CITY IN AMERICA!
AS A VOTING CITIZEN, THERE IS SOMETHING THAT EACH ONE OF YOU CAN DO.
THIS SHOULD BE A MAJOR ISSUE IN THE NEXT ROUND OF LOCAL ELECTIONS. EVERY BUSINESS AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION SHOULD BE ASKING IF THOSE SEEKING OFFICE WOULD DO ANYTHING TO FIX CONSOLIDATION.
BY FIXING, I MEAN TWEAKING, NOT DECONSOLIDATING, BECAUSE IT CAN BE MADE TO WORK. BUT, IF THIS COUNCIL WILL NOT GET IT DONE, MORE DRASTIC MEASURES MUST BE TAKEN LEGISLATIVELY.
I WILL SAY THIS AGAIN NEXT YEAR, AND WILL SAY IT EVERY CHANCE I GET: EITHER WE TWEAK IT LOCALLY, OR OUR DELEGATION NEEDS TO UNDO THIS MISTAKE, BY GIVING THE CITIZENS OF THE CITY THE ABILITY TO VOTE INDEPENDENTLY ON HOW THEY ARE GOVERNED.
PLEASE DON’T ANYONE MISCONSTRUE THIS TO BE A CITY-ONLY ISSUE. THE PEOPLE IN THE UNINCORPORATED AREAS ARE GOING TO SUFFER FIRST, AND IT’S ALREADY STARTING.
FUNDING PARISH PROJECTS WILL CONTINUE TO BE A PROBLEM. THIS YEAR, WE HAVE ONLY $650,000 FOR OVERLAYING ROADS IN THE ENTIRE PARISH. WE HAVE $5 MILLION WORTH OF JUST CRITICAL ONE ROADS, THE ROADS RATED “WORST” BY OUR PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT. THAT NUMBER IS GOING TO GET MUCH WORSE.
LAFAYETTE DRIVES THE ECONOMY OF THE PARISH AND MUCH OF THE REGION, WE SHOULD NEVER FORGET THAT. A HEALTHY LAFAYETTE BENEFITS MUCH MORE THAN JUST OUR CITY. AN UNHEALTHY LAFAYETTE WILL ALSO AFFECT MORE THAN JUST LAFAYETTE.
THERE ARE THINGS WE CAN DO, BESIDES JUST RAISING TAXES.
ONE SOLUTION IS FOR EVERY CITY IN LAFAYETTE PARISH TO STEP UP TO THE PLATE TO HELP PARISH GOVERNMENT.
ALL OF THE MAYORS ARE WORKING TOGETHER TO TRY AND COME UP WITH AN ANNEXATION POLICY THAT WOULD DRAW LINES, THAT WE ALL AGREE WOULD ONE DAY BE ANNEXED BY A PARTICULAR CITY OR TOWN. BUT, WE COULD ALSO ALL AGREE TO ANNEX AN AREA AROUND OUR CITIES IMMEDIATELY (LEGISLATION REQUIRED), TAKING SOME RESPONSIBILITY OFF OF PARISH GOVERNMENT.
IT WILL ELIMINATE A COMPETITION THAT HAS EXISTED FOR DECADES AMONG THE CITIES, CAUSING MUCH UNNECESSARY ANNEXATION, COSTING ALL THE CITIES AND TOWNS MONEY, WHILE STRIPPING MONEY AWAY FROM PARISH GOVERNMENT.
ELIMINATING THIS AGGRESSIVE, COMPETITIVE DYNAMIC WILL ALSO LEAD TO MUCH GREATER COOPERATION IN THE FUTURE.
IF WE CAN COME TO AGREEMENT AMONG OURSELVES AND OUR COUNCILS, WE WILL GO TO OUR LEGISLATIVE DELEGATION AND ASK FOR A LOCAL BILL FIRMING UP THESE COLLECTIVE AGREEMENTS.
WE WOULD CALL THE AREAS OF FUTURE ANNEXATIONS AROUND EACH CITY THEIR “AREA OF INFLUENCE.” I’D LIKE THE LEGISLATION TO ALLOW EACH CITY TO HAVE THE ABILITY TO BE ABLE TO SPEND CITY DOLLARS IN THESE AREAS WHEN THE ELECTED LEADERS OF THOSE CITIES BELIEVE IT IS A GOOD INVESTMENT IN THEIR FUTURE.
THEY WOULD KNOW THAT NO OTHER CITY COULD EVER ANNEX THE AREA THEY INVESTED IN.
ABOVE ALL, THIS WOULD TAKE SOME OF THE BURDEN OFF OF PARISH GOVERNMENT, THEREBY REDUCING, THOUGH NOT ELIMINATING, THE PRESSURE TO INCREASE TAXES.
LET’S TALK ABOUT SOMETHING REGIONAL: THE LAFAYETTE REGIONAL AIRPORT.
THE AIRPORT COMMISSION HAS BEEN WORKING ON A LONG-TERM PLAN FOR OUR AIRPORT, A CRITICAL GATEWAY INTO OUR COMMUNITY.
THE AIRPORT IS BEYOND CAPACITY TODAY, BREAKING RECORDS FOR FIVE YEARS IN A ROW, BUT WE ARE FALLING BEHIND FAST.
THERE ARE NEW AIRPORTS IN ALEXANDRIA, LAKE CHARLES AND MONROE. NEW ORLEANS HAS JUST ANNOUNCED THEIR NEW TERMINAL. MY HAT IS OFF TO ALL OF THOSE COMMUNITIES, BECAUSE THEY ARE IMPROVING OUR STATE.
IT’S NOW TIME FOR A NEW TERMINAL FOR LAFAYETTE AND OUR REGION.
THE AVIATION DEMAND FORECAST FOR LAFAYETTE IS FOR A 40% INCREASE BY 2025, THAT’S JUST 9 YEARS OR SO AFTER I GET OUT OF OFFICE. IT WILL GET HERE QUICK!
IN 2006, I PROPOSED A SOLUTION TO OUR TRAFFIC PROBLEMS IN THE FORM OF A ONE-CENT SALES TAX (IT’S STILL THE ONLY REAL SOLUTION.)
I HEARD MANY REASONS FOR ITS FAILURE. TWO OF THE MOST LEGITIMATE REASONS THAT RESONATED WITH ME WERE: ONCE PASSED, TAXES NEVER SEEM TO GO AWAY, AND THE PERCEPTION THAT MONEY NEVER SEEMS TO GO WHERE WE ARE TOLD IT WILL GO.
THE COMMISSION WOULD LIKE TO GIVE THE CITIZENS AN OPPORTUNITY TO IMPROVE THIS IMPORTANT GATEWAY TO OUR REGION. IT IS CRITICAL TO OUR ABILITY TO COMPETE FOR THE JOBS WE WANT IN ACADIANA.
WE KNOW THERE ARE MANY NEEDS IN LAFAYETTE, INCLUDING EDUCATION, ROADS, AND PUBLIC SAFETY. THE COMMISSIONERS ARE SENSITIVE TO THIS, AND DON’T WANT TO INTERFERE WITH ANY OF THESE LONG-TERM EFFORTS.
HOW ABOUT 1 PENNY, ONE YEAR, ONE PROJECT?
THE COMMISSION IS PROPOSING THAT WE VOTE ON A ONE-CENT SALES TAX THAT WOULD LAST FOR ONE YEAR, DEDICATED TO THIS ONE PROJECT. THIS WOULD PROVIDE ABOUT ONE-THIRD OF THE MONEY NEEDED WITH THE REST COMING FROM THE AIRPORT ITSELF, ALONG WITH STATE AND FEDERAL FUNDS.
A NEW TERMINAL WOULD MEET THE NEEDS OF LARGER AIRCRAFT, PROVIDE MORE BOARDING GATES FOR MORE PLANES, AND BETTER FACILITIES LIKE PARKING, SECURITY, BOARDING AND BAGGAGE CLAIMS.
IF WE MOVE QUICKLY, A VOTE COULD TAKE PLACE IN TIME FOR A ONE CENT SALES TAX TO START JANUARY 1, 2015, AND SUNSET DECEMBER 31, 2015.
ONE PENNY, ONE YEAR, ONE PROJECT.
IF YOU AGREE WITH OUR AIRPORT COMMISSION FOR ONE CENT, FOR ONE YEAR, FOR ONE PROJECT TO BUILD OUR COMMUNITY A NEW AIRPORT TERMINAL AND KEEP US COMPETITIVE, PLEASE GIVE THEM A HAND.
WE ALL HEAR THE RHETORIC OF MAKING GOVERNMENT MORE EFFICIENT, BUT RARELY HEAR ANYONE OFFER ANYTHING MEANINGFUL.
OUR COMPREHENSIVE PLAN IS A MEANINGFUL PLAN THAT WILL HELP US SPEND OUR LIMITED TAX DOLLARS MORE EFFICIENTLY. IT IS THE BLUEPRINT FOR OUR FUTURE. TODAY, WE KICK OFF THE FINAL PHASE OF OUR JOURNEY THAT STARTED A FEW YEARS AGO.
THE PEOPLE YOU SEE UP HERE REPRESENT THE ENTITIES THAT WILL BE PARTICIPATING IN VARIOUS EVENTS OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS.
Jason El Koubi New President Chamber of Commerce
Courtney Reynolds President Black Chamber of Commerce
Brittany Broussard President of The 705
Gregg Gothreaux LEDA
Ben Berthelot LCVC
Kevin Blanchard CDO of LCG
Nathan Norris DDA
Rob Robison LL, Leadership Institute
Carlee Alm-LaBar Boss of the Comp Plan
Did I mention Gregg Gothreaux?
THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN, FUNDED BY OUR COUNCIL, IS NOT A MASTER PLAN, BUT WILL BE AN EVOLVING GUIDE TO HELP INCREASE THE POSSIBILITIES OF SPENDING OUR TAX DOLLARS AS EFFICIENTLY AS POSSIBLE. FOR MANY OF US HERE TODAY, IT IS NOT OUR PLAN AND IT IS NOT FOR OUR FUTURE.
SO, WHILE WE MAY ALL BENEFIT FROM IT, THE REAL BENEFICIARIES WILL BE OUR CHILDREN, GRANDCHILDREN, AND THE GENERATIONS THAT FOLLOW.
MY PARENTS’ GENERATION IS REFERRED TO AS “THE GREATEST GENERATION.” SOMEONE PUT IT LIKE THIS: THEY ARE THE GENERATION THAT GAVE UP THEIR “YESTERDAY” FOR OUR “TODAY.”
MY GENERATION IS CONSIDERED A SELFISH GENERATION. WE HAVE GIVEN UP THEIR “TOMORROW” FOR OUR “TODAY.”
MAYBE THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN IS A STEP IN MAKING US TAKE A HARD LOOK AT OURSELVES AND WHAT WE ARE DOING TO, OR FOR, FUTURE GENERATIONS.
ONE OF MY FAVORITE GROUPS IN LAFAYETTE IS THE 705, THAT GROUP OF CITIZENS UNDER 40 THAT HAVE COME TOGETHER TO HELP MAKE LAFAYETTE BETTER. IN FACT, THERE ARE SOME 705’S UP HERE TODAY, AND IN THE AUDIENCE AS WELL. WHY DON’T YOU ALL STAND UP? YOU ARE THE MOTIVATION FOR THIS EFFORT.
ACTUALLY, MORE THAN THAT, IT IS FOR YOUR CHILDREN. IF YOU WANT TO BE SURE YOU LEAVE THIS PLACE BETTER THAN YOU FOUND IT, GET BEHIND THIS PLAN AND DEMAND THAT FUTURE LEADERS OF LAFAYETTE FOLLOW IT AND WORK WITH IT EVEN AS IT EVOLVES. SO, MAYBE YOU’RE NOT THE MOTIVATION, MAYBE YOU ARE THE DRIVERS!
AND AS THE DRIVERS OF THIS PLAN, LET ME SUGGEST A ROADMAP: PICK UP THE POSTCARD IN FRONT OF YOU AND TAKE A LOOK. WE ARE IN THE BEGINNING OF PLAN LAFAYETTE WEEK, A WEEK IN WHICH WE WILL BEGIN DISCUSSING, AS A COMMUNITY, HOW WE MOVE FORWARD ON OUR SHARED VISION. THE SCHEDULE OF EVENTS THERE HAVE BEEN MADE POSSIBLE, NOT BY GOVERNMENT, BUT BY THE COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS THAT YOU SEE REPRESENTED AT THE TABLE UP HERE.
THIS IS NOT AN LCG PLAN. THIS IS A LAFAYETTE PLAN. IT WILL TAKE GOVERNMENT, AND BUSINESS, AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS, AND NEIGHBORHOODS, AND ALL OF US. AND THAT’S GOOD NEWS. BECAUSE THAT MEANS YOU, ALL OF YOU, CAN HELP PLAY A ROLE. START BY MAKING TIME TO ATTEND ONE OR MORE OF THE EVENTS ON THAT SCHEDULE—AND MANY THANKS TO RIGHT ANGLE FOR THE DESIGN WORK THERE. WHAT A GREAT PIN—THAT’S A KEEPSAKE.
YOU’VE GOT THE INFORMATION THERE TO START YOUR JOURNEY. LEARN ABOUT HOW WE ARE GOING TO REINVENT THE HUB CITY TO ATTRACT THE NEXT GENERATION OF BUSINESS. FIND OUT HOW WE CAN REENVISION OUR NATURAL RESOURCES BY USING OUR FLOODWAYS AS RECREATIONAL SPACE THAT ADDS VALUE. WE WILL BE REFINING GOVERNMENT, IN PART BY MAKING DECISIONS WITH OUR LIMITED TAX DOLLARS BASED ON RETURN ON INVESTMENT. AND WE CAN REVITALIZE OUR NEIGHBORHOODS, BECAUSE THE CORE OF OUR CITY IS IN NEED OF ATTENTION AND RIPE FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.
THE GROUPS AT THIS TABLE HAVE STEPPED UP. AND ALL IT TAKES IS THAT FIRST STEP. ATTEND AN EVENT. GET INVOLVED. TALK TO YOUR NEIGHBORS, YOUR CHURCH GROUPS, YOUR FAMILY.
WHETHER YOU REALIZE IT OR NOT, YOU ARE ALL DRIVING THIS CHANGE.
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