We won’t be climbing out of a fiscal hole like many communities — thankfully the Great Recession hasn’t sunk its teeth too deeply into our hide, and the administration and council have done a fair job of making sure we live within our means. The price of oil and natural gas will, however, figure greatly into our fortunes, as it does every year.
In the meantime:
Will the Lafayette Parish School System and the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce make nice after years of strained relations? Some current and former members of the chamber remain miffed over a 2001 agreement with the LPSS. In it, the chamber agreed to support a sales tax for the school system in exchange for the central office signing off on a massive, detailed plan to raise scores in public schools in the parish. The sales tax passed. The agreement was signed by both sides. Nine years later the scores in Lafayette Parish, one of the most affluent in the state, remain middle of the pack. They’ve climbed some, and the LPSS has shown an admirable knack for innovation in the interim, but today’s scores fall far short of the 2001 document. There’s been some behind-the-scenes bickering between the two lately over the agreement, which the chamber failed to periodically monitor (one source says chamber leadership can’t even locate the original document) and which the school system says no longer applies because the method by which the state gauges performance has changed.
But the LPSS will once again need the chamber, if not this year then probably the next. It wasn’t for naught that the LPSS hired a Baton Rouge planning firm to assess the physical condition of our public schools. Among the firm’s conclusions: More than a dozen schools are in such poor shape that the cost of repairing them — plugging the leaks, replacing the ducts, repairing the roofs — is at least 65 percent the cost of building new schools to replace them. These are public buildings maintained by public funds. Can we not expect the LPSS to approach taxpayers in the foreseeable future asking for a funding source (read, sales tax)? And can the LPSS do it without the endorsement of the chamber, which, its reputation as a vanilla booster club notwithstanding, comprises some heavy hitters in Lafayette’s civic life?
And what of the fizzled-in-the-frying-pan story of 2009, the “horse farm” — those 98 acres of serene, rolling hills in the heart of Lafayette that are supposed to become our own little Central Park? UL, the city and the Community Foundation of Acadiana, the players in this drama, say a benevolent Daddy Warbucks who prefers to remain anonymous is ready to gift $5.7 million to the CFA to buy the horse farm from the university, provided the Community Foundation can raise that same amount to develop and care for the park. As of last check there was no new news to report on the biggest story of last spring. It’s just kind of sitting there, like the horse farm.
Will the City-Parish Council come up with a solution to maintaining order in downtown Lafayette on weekend nights — a solution that satisfies both the bar owners, who take the brunt of the blame and who, given their druthers, would prefer status quo, and some of the downtown’s non-bar merchants who are calling for Draconian measures like curfews and banning 18 to 20-year-olds from the nightclubs?
And speaking of the CPC, will it resolve that nagging, annual cough we call NGO funding? Or will the same old battle over tossing a pittance to a handful of non-profit agencies return come budget time this summer? The CFA, which has offered to maintain an endowment for non-profit funding, could figure into this story line. Many, however, would prefer the CFA keep the blinders on and rein in the horse farm deal.
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
“I am only getting a little nervous about two projects — the proposed Sasol GTL facility [not the new ethylene plant] and the proposed G2X facility — both in Lake Charles. They need a hefty difference between oil and natural gas prices to make sense.”
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Lower oil prices also might slow the growth of oil production in parts of the U.S., Canada and elsewhere because it will no longer be so profitable.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
A Lafayette woman faces up to 20 years in prison for running up more than $1 million in unauthorized charges to her company credit card.
Signs that our state’s banking industry is undergoing a downsizing in 2014 were further confirmed today with the FDIC’s latest figures showing a third straight quarter in which Louisiana lost more banks and earned less money.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
State police say a 47-year-old Lafayette man, who collected more than $83,000 in disability benefits, is accused of operating two businesses out of his home at a time when he claimed he had no income.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Tuesday's Blogs from the Bog!
Odell Beckham on the catch; chaos in Ferguson; snowstorm set to snarl travel and more national and international news for Tuesday, November 25, 2014.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Saints Street cottage or River Ranch condo
By now, the story of how longtime LSU coach Dale Brown discovered Shaquille O'Neal has been told many times: Brown happened upon a massive 13-year-old at an army base in Germany, stayed in touch with him and eventually became like a second father.
Fate simply wasn't ready to give the New Orleans Saints a break from longtime nemesis Steve Smith.
Facing opposition from a powerful industry, the governor and many in the Legislature, a New Orleans-area flood board's lawsuit against dozens of oil, gas and pipeline companies seemed doomed early on.
"I want to take an opportunity to thank the people of Lafayette for allowing me to serve you for the last three years as your school superintendent."
After Thanksgiving, the small town of Moreauville plans to confiscate and kill all rottweilers and pitbulls, including a service dog.
Lafayette Police have had a busy day.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will use $130 million in patchwork financing from a tax amnesty program, insurance settlement, uninsured motorist penalties and other excess funds to close most of the state's midyear budget deficit.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she disagrees with President Barack Obama's actions on immigration, hoping the latest controversy doesn't worsen her campaign difficulties.