City-Parish President Joey Durel has agreed to let Lafayette Consolidated Government sign off on a $20,000 contract for rural fire protection in the Broussard area, according to a report in today’s Advertiser. He told the daily his gesture is “a show of good faith that we want to try to work together.”

LCG has routinely entered into such contracts with the smaller municipalities in the parish to help their fire departments — some of them operated on a volunteer basis — cover areas of unincorporated Lafayette Parish near each’s city limits. In the case of Broussard, the coverage also extends to unincorporated islands within the city limits of Broussard. The $20,000 was half of what LCG annually distributes the towns; consolidated government had made the first installment to Broussard already and had made full payments to Carencro, Duson, Scott and Youngsville.

We wonder whether Durel’s “show of good faith” was precipitated by legal questions about LCG’s right to withhold the money. Lorrie Toups, chief financial officer for LCG, tells us in an email the money for the rural fire-protection contracts comes from the parish general fund, and since Lafayette Parish doesn’t have a parish-wide millage for fire protection, those funds are generated through parish property- and/or sales taxes, all of which residents in Broussard pay. In other words, the city of Broussard contributes to the fund from which the rural fire-protection money is drawn.

But that’s moot now. Durel has made nice and hopefully Broussard Mayor Charlie Langlinais will follow suit.

In the words of the mortal Rodney King, why can’t we all just get along?

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