An interesting thing happened at the end of the on-line version of The Daily Advertiser’s story today on LUS Fiber taking a $5.5 million loan from Lafayette Utilities System: LUS Director Terry Huval took to the comment section and defended the loan against the usual carping by anonymous readers.
The gist of the article is that LUS Fiber is experiencing a robust rate of new customers — Huval tells the paper the number of new hook-ups has “virtually doubled” over the last three months — and that early setbacks such as lawsuits against the project as well as problems with LUS’ first video system, which LUS ultimately replaced, hampered revenue projections.
But Huval, as he’s done in the comment section on this website, using his name, defends LUS Fiber’s performance and denies the loan will affect utility rates in Lafayette:
The public referendum for this project stated clearly that the bonds were backed by LUS. This one issue was the subject of much public debate prior to the election. The voters supported the initiative by a 62% to 38% margin.
The loans will be paid as LUS Fiber continues to grow. Our rate of serving new customers is about double of what it was just several months ago. Our revenue and customer growth has remained positive each quarter.
And, no, utility rates will not go up because of the loans. In fact, since we pay the loans back at a higher interest than LUS would normally earn, the fiber system will actually reduce the likelihood of future rate increases.
Huval also defends LUS Fiber on ideological grounds and insists the cable TV/Internet/telephone service is meeting expectations:
There will always be those who choose not to buy our services and we respect that. Debates on whether or not government should provide these types of services have always been around. The debate on whether or not LUS should continue providing utility services went on for over 50 years after it was founded in 1896. Fortunately for Lafayette, the people wanted to keep their utility system. This decision has saved Lafayette citizens and business hundreds of millions of dollars over the past few decades alone.
For some time now, LUS Fiber has been bringing in more revenues than its costs to provide services. It is growing at a strong pace and previously published reports suggest that the number of customers we have exceed 10,000. We have been in this immense business for just over 2.5 years and have accomplished alot for our community in that short time.
MAY 22 This post was written the day after the second line shooting in NOLA, by Brentin Mock. Mock is a friend of Deb "Big Red" Cotton, a blogger who was shot in the back and was seriously injured. It is a raw, emotional piece of writing, something the writer obviously felt he needed to get off his chest. But it raises questions that can't be easily dismissed, and might give some insight into where the source of these events truly is.
MAY 22 In this Baton Rouge Business Report post, Rolfe McCollister considers the privatization of bus service in Baton Rouge. After decades of under-funding, it is a mess, and although a tax (partially) passed last year, improvement hasn't happened yet. McCollister apparently feels it is time to let private business get in on the transit business.
MAY 22 This post on Bayou Buzz by Jeff Crouere urges the defeat of a bill that would grant modest pay increases over the next several years to the state's judges and clerks of court. The state is in no position to fund pay hikes, Crouere argues, with the pay increases costing a total of $9 million over several years. It sends the wrong message to the (proverbial) hard-working people of Louisiana, he says.
MAY 22 The Advocate reports here that State Treasurer John Kennedy is complaining about a meeting of the corporation that oversees the state's tobacco settlement. The Governor wanted it restructured, and he has some support, but not a lot. The corporation agreed with his plan, but Kennedy didn't, and it appears that the meeting was noticed in a manner completely different than that of all previous meetings. Kennedy's given to hyperbole, but in this case the fish don't smell too fresh.
MAY 22 In this Advocate story, Carencro Police Chief Carlos Stout says the recent federal indictment of a strip club owner is all wrong. The indictment alleges that drugs and prostitution went on with impunity because club staff made arrangements with "local" police. Stout says it never happened, and while his cops do work security in the parking lot, they're not allowed inside.
MAY 22 This amusing post in DIG Baton Rouge recounts an ad that ran on Craig's List recently; the advertiser was seeking tenants for a Beauregard Town house. He knew his market, and wrote an ad that the most ironical hipster couldn't resist. Apparently, he really did know his market, because the ad worked like a charm.
MAY 22 In this post in The Lens, Mark Moseley comments on the rhetoric Gov. Jindal employed in trying to save his tax "reform" package. One interesting point concerns Jindal's use of his brother, Nikesh, in a little story. Nikesh left Louisiana because of his inability to get a decent job, the story goes, but the story won't hold water: Nikesh lives in DC, which has an income tax level comparable to Louisiana, Moseley says. If income taxes caused the dismal situation, it should exist in DC too. Right?
MAY 22 This post by columnist John Maginnis traces the trajectory of the bill that would fund construction at community and technical colleges -- and bypass the Board of Regents and traditional higher ed funding mechanisms. Sure, it will bust the legislature's self-imposed debt limit, but some leges feel that there's more need (because there is more growth) in the community and technical college area than in the university area, he says.
David Calhoun and Elizabeth “EB” Brooks are the first two employees of Lafayette Central Park Inc., the nonprofit charged with turning Lafayette Consolidated Government’s 100-acre Johnston Street Horse Farm property into a passive public park. Calhoun was named executive director, and Brooks is director of planning and design.
There will soon be a whole lot of shakin’ going on at Benny’s Sportshack Supplement Depot, a new concept by Opelousas native Benny Nele. Located at 2002 Johnston St., the supplement shop, smoothie bar and café, featuring hot off the press paninis and wraps, plans to open in late May.