|Joey Durel, left, and Charlie Langlinais|
Citing annexation lawsuits filed by the city of Broussard against the city of Lafayette as well as Broussard’s apparent breach of its wholesale water contract with the city-owned Lafayette Utilities System, City-Parish President Joey Durel told the council Tuesday he has directed his staff to explore a termination of all contractual and inter-governmental agreements with Broussard.
“Just like the other municipalities in Lafayette Parish, Broussard is the recipient of numerous and varied services from the city of Lafayette, all of which allow Broussard to provide to its citizens a level of services that it could not currently provide by itself,” Durel told the council. “However, unlike the other municipalities in Lafayette Parish, the administration of the city of Broussard has chosen to engage in an ongoing battle with the city of Lafayette, attempting to frustrate Lafayette’s growth and development in ways that are inconsistent with a mutually beneficial relationship.
“Essentially, the administration of the city of Broussard wants to declare itself to be an adversary of the city of Lafayette, all the while expecting the city of Lafayette to ignore the fact that it provides Broussard with the very services that have allowed Broussard to grow and prosper.”
Durel is referring specifically to Broussard Mayor Charlie Langlinais, who has been a burr under Durel’s saddle virtually since the Lafayette mayor took office in 2004. Now in his third and final term, Durel has clearly had enough. “I can no longer overlook the fact that the taxpayers of Lafayette are compelled to defend and pursue lawsuits and disputes with the same municipality that willingly accepts services from Lafayette at the same time,” Durel said. “This is not wise public policy.”
Durel is brother-in-law to Youngsville Mayor Wilson Viator, who has had his own share of spats with Langlinais over annexations in south Lafayette Parish as well as water — perhaps the most important infrastructure commodity for growing small towns. If Lafayette is successful in cutting off the LUS water supply to Broussard it could have a disastrous economic impact on the city of Broussard and stymie its future growth.
“The city of Broussard is not the city of Lafayette’s responsibility; we have no jurisdiction in there,” Durel said in closing his remarks to the council. “We were glad to help, as we do with other municipalities, but with this sort of unnatural relationship, I think it’s time for that relationship to come to an end.”
To hear Durel’s full remarks on the issue click here and go to about 15:45.