Days after voters approved Lafayette Utilities System's plan to build a fiber optics network to every home and business in the city, local proponents of the project see several more hurdles on the horizon.
"There's still a whole lot of work to do," says City-Parish Councilman Marc Mouton. "Having never done this before, we're going to proceed cautiously but also with the mandate that this council has from the electorate."
The utility still estimates it is at least two years away from beginning to offer phone, cable and high-speed Internet services to homes over the fiber network.
Directly ahead for LUS is ironing out financing rules with the Public Service Commission ' rules that could affect LUS' bond rating and make LUS alter its initial business plan. The PSC could meet as soon as this Friday, July 22, to address the issue.
Incumbent telecommunications providers BellSouth and Cox Communications, who fought to have the issue defeated at the polls, have lobbied the PSC to not allow LUS to pledge its utilities assets for the project's bonds and to apply strict rules to LUS price rates. (Bellsouth Regional Manager John Williams did not return a phone call by press time.)
Mouton says he hopes the public's recent show of support at the polls will help clear the opposition. "I would hope that [BellSouth and Cox] would work with us in seeing that the will of the people is implemented. They were out to fight to protect their interest, and I can applaud that. The ball is in their court now for how they want to respond."
Last Saturday's election ended with 62 percent of city voters approving the $125 million bond issue. The final tally was 12,290 votes in favor of the project, with 7,507 in opposition. ' NS
HOUSE AUTHORIZES $1.13 BILLION FOR COASTAL LOUISIANA
Louisiana coastal restoration scored a major coup last week when the U.S. House passed its version of the 2005 Water Resources Development Act. The $10 billion omnibus bill authorizes hundreds of navigation, flood, and environmental improvement projects, including $1.13 billion for Louisiana coastal restoration.
The biennial WRDA legislation is administered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and is the federal government's largest environmental spending bill. The last time the bill was passed was in 2000, making this year's bill three years overdue. In the past, it has funneled billions of dollars into major projects for Chesapeake Bay and the Florida Everglades. The funds included in the bill for Louisiana's coast will go to projects designated by the state and the Army Corps of Engineers in the Louisiana Coastal Area study, which can be viewed at www.lca.gov.
The LCA represents the largest coastal restoration project in American history. Before going into affect,Â WRDA still must pass the Senate, which is yet to schedule a vote on the bill into its tightly packed agenda. ' NS
A new building, new computers ' all the UL Lafayette library lacked was a commemorative image of the woman who was the driving force behind its inception. Dr. Charles Triche, director of the Edith Garland Dupre library, has announced that the board has chosen artist Janine Collins to paint the nearly life-size portrait of Dupre that will hang in the main entrance. Collins' portrait of Herbert and Maurice Heymann hangs in the Petroleum Club, and a likeness of LSU School of Business namesake, E.J. Orso, was also done by the Lafayette painter. ' MT
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
US cities bidding on Olympics; Guard prevents more Ferguson riots; storm threatens travel and more national and international news for Wednesday, November 26, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.
Gay-rights advocates challenging Louisiana's same-sex marriage ban announced Thursday that they have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case before it is heard by a federal appeals court.
Thinking himself the “son of God,” the man charged with the 2013 killing of an officer of the Chitimacha Tribal Police will not stand trial following a ruling Thursday on his mental competency.
Either Saints coach Sean Payton doesn't want to tip Baltimore off as to who'll start in New Orleans' secondary on Monday night, or he really doesn't know yet.