|Durel, left, and Langlinais|
Broussard Mayor Charlie Langlinais has made a counter offer to City-Parish President Joey Durel, who last week gave the south Lafayette Parish city 10 days to drop a lawsuit against the city of Lafayette or face an end to economic cooperation between the two cities. Langlinais offer: Put the suit, which seeks to recover more than $500,000 of an $825,000 LUS water bill Lafayette Consolidated Government hit Broussard with following the discovery of a bypassed meter last year, before an arbitrator or simply refund Broussard $575,000 and the two cities can meet at the bargaining table to resolve the water dispute.
Langlinais’ counter offer comes on the heels of Durel relenting and authorizing the release of $20,000 to Broussard to help it cover the cost of fire protection in unincorporated areas adjacent to and within the city limits of Broussard. The City-Parish Council will consider an ordinance Tuesday night on the matter. Langlinais’ parry is also just the latest in a long-running dispute with the Durel administration, acrimony that began when Broussard filed a lawsuit seeking to block Lafayette's annexation of a portion of land off Ambassador South.
Here’s Langlinais full letter to Durel Tuesday:
In a recent television interview you stated that you are willing to sit down with officials from the City of Broussard to try to work out all of the disputes between us, but we had to dismiss our water dispute litigation before you would be willing to meet. It is both unreasonable and unfair to ask that this claim be dismissed as a condition to even trying to resolve the pending disputes. The Broussard City Administration has a duty to protect the City’s fiscal resources, and because we were forced to pay a clearly excessive bill, we had no choice but to file suit for a refund.
According to our computations, LUS owes the City of Broussard a refund of over $600,000, and we filed the suit to recover it. If you want the litigation dismissed now, I suggest, as an alternative, that Lafayette refund to Broussard the sum of $575,000, without prejudice to any of its rights. Then both Lafayette and Broussard will dismiss their cross claims in the water related lawsuit, without prejudice. Once that is done we can try to amicably resolve the water dispute by agreeing on the amount of water that was erroneously delivered to Broussard. Then, if we owe more we will pay it, or if we are due more Lafayette will pay us.
The City of Broussard also desires to resolve all litigation with Lafayette over pending annexation issues, and to continue or expand efforts to help serve the Parish’s citizenry. If there are provisions in the wholesale water agreement that you want changed, we are more than happy to address those issues with you. We would be happy to provide water to Lafayette Parish citizens in the unincorporated areas such as Shenandoah, and we would be glad to provide end user sewer services for the third party operators in the south side of the Parish. If it is more convenient for Broussard to provide water to Lafayette citizens on the edge of your municipal limits, we are willing to work out an agreement to do so. We also want to continue our involvement and financial contribution to fire protection and animal control in both the incorporated areas of Broussard and the unincorporated areas surrounding Broussard. We look forward to continuing our relationship regarding drainage and road projects through our current system of inter-governmental agreements. We are certainly willing to authorize and permit requested regulatory variances for any LUS transmission lines, electrical or fiber, in the Broussard area. We are willing to continue efforts to facilitate expansion of Lafayette’s fiber endeavors. We will continue our agreement which allows rent free office space for the Lafayette Housing Authority. Finally, we assure you of our cooperation in amending the existing LCOG charter with regard to LUS issues.
We are willing to sit down with the appropriate officials of Lafayette Parish to work out all of these issues. We also remain willing to submit our current litigation matters to either mediation, or to binding arbitration conducted by a retired Judge from the 15th Judicial District Court.
As I have advised previously, I am more than willing to meet at any time and place and discuss any or all of these issues, and the Lafayette City Parish Government does not have to give up any rights or claims in order to get me to the table.
I look forward to hearing from you if you are interested in discussions to resolve any of these problems.
Charles Langlinais, Mayor