The City-Parish Council will again vote on an introductory ordinance Tuesday that if approved would establish another charter commission to study the Lafayette Home Rule Charter and make recommendations for amending the constitution for Lafayette Consolidated Government.
A similar ordinance failed three weeks ago on a 5-4 vote, with four of the five councilmen who represent a majority of city of Lafayette residents voting in favor and the four councilmen who represent rural and small-town Lafayette Parish voting against. The swing vote last time was District 6 Councilman Andy Naquin, the only member of the council whose constituency is entirely city of Lafayette residents. Naquin joined the majority in killing the ordinance.
District 7 Councilman Don Bertrand, a south Lafayette Republican and one of four sponsors of the ordinance, has vowed to keep putting the ordinance before the council until one of the five holdouts votes in favor. The ordinance enjoys bipartisan support on the council with Democrats Brandon Shelvin and Kenneth Broussard joining Republicans Bertrand and Keith Patin in sponsoring the measure.
Supporters of empaneling a charter commission hope, if given clearance by the council, to effectively reconvene the nine-member commission that studied the charter in 2011. That panel ultimately recommended repealing “consolidated” government, a recommendation that was rejected by voters that fall. Those supporters, including several members of the former commission, now favor adopting what was once called the Hefner Plan, after demographer Mike Hefner, who favors maintaining Lafayette Consolidated Government but redrawing council districts so that five will be entirely within the city of Lafayette and four representing the unincorporated parish and small towns. Such a redistricting would create a five-member Lafayette city council within the larger City-Parish Council, ensuring the city of Lafayette’s autonomy in matters that pertain only to the city (as opposed to our current way of doing things: allowing council members who are not city residents to vote on city-only ordinances and resolutions).
The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. in council auditorium at City Hall.