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Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel presented the UL-Lafayette College of Nursing with a proclamation for being named the Outstanding College of Nursing in Louisiana.

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March Newsletter

Leukemia & Lymphoma

Every family has been touched by cancer in some fashion, and my family is no exception. That is why I have agreed to participate in this year's fundraising “competition” for “Man of the Year.” There are several people from our area competing for this as well as “Woman of the Year.” However, we all know that the real competition is against cancer and working to find a cure for this terrible disease. So, even if your family experience isn’t with Leukemia or Lymphoma, I would think that research on these specific types of cancer might lead to a breakthrough in another. That is why I am asking you to do whatever you can to help us raise money to help families stricken by blood cancer. Most of the money we raise stays right here in Louisiana to help them.

The real “Man and Woman” of this year are very obvious. They are 4-year-old Brandon Hollier and 4-year-old Sydnie Harmon, who are serving as our Boy and Girl of the year. You will get to know them and their difficult life experiences at such a young age.

On March 25th, Mary Guidry of Iberia Bank and I are teaming up to host a Crawfish Boil to raise money to help families dealing with this terrible illness and to fund research. It is going to be held at Randol’s Restaurant, from 1:00pm to 5:00pm and there will be plenty of entertainment! The cost is only $50 per person! Not a bad way to spend your Sunday afternoon. Terry Huval, Feu Follet, along with other local musicians, and other entertainment, will make the afternoon great for the whole family.

Sponsorships are welcome, to help defray the cost, so please be sure to contact me at or Mary Guidry at, Checks can be mailed to P.O. Box 60504, Lafayette, LA 70596. We have also created a Facebook Event Page for Crooners and Crawfish , you can stay abreast of changes there!

As I have said, the real goal here is to raise money to help families dealing with these diseases. With that in mind, I want to you know all of the men and women “competing” for this cause. We will also keep you up to date on events that we will do and events that our “competition” is doing. If you know any of them and want to make a donation in their name, please, please do so! The candidates are:

  • Angie Landry
  • Becky Bertholot
  • Chad Dartez
  • Dan Hare
  • Greg Davis
  • Haley Henry
  • Jeanne Fitzgerald
  • Mary Guidry
  • Scottie Carriere
  • Staci Gatch
  • Toby Daspit
  • Walter Campbell

Also, if you have a special person you want to recognize, for a $100 donation, I will do a proclamation declaring it their "DAY." So, if you know of a birthday, anniversary or big homecoming let me know, and we will give them a certificate suitable for framing.

Comprehensive Plan

I have been impressed by the enthusiasm I've witnessed as we kick off the comprehensive planning process. There are still some that question the need, and I appreciate that skepticism. However, since we know with certainty that we are going to continue to grow, we also know that we are going to spend hundreds of millions of dollars over the next twenty years as a result of that growth. If we can prevent one mistake, the savings will dwarf the cost of the plan. Of course, saving money by preventing mistakes is just a by-product of good planning. The real reason is to have a goal in mind for how we want Lafayette to look 20-30 years from now, and to learn how we get there by spending money as efficiently as possible.

By the way, did you know we are not using taxes to pay for this? The cost of the project is coming from permit fees from our Planning, Zoning and Codes Department, a very appropriate source of planning money. This money is derived from permit fees paid for by developers and builders.

Stay tuned for opportunities to participate by sharing your concerns, opinions, and vision for Lafayette. You wont necessarily have to attend meetings (but should when able), and there will be a website and Facebook page to help from the comfort of your home. We know that things like our Fiber Optics are going to change what Lafayette will look like twenty years from now. The first two questions we have been asked is: “How do we want Lafayette to look twenty years from now,” and “What do yo see as the greatest impediment to achieving that goal?”

We have been fortunate over the years, but as our municipalities grow closer and closer together, we really need to do all we can to spend our taxes as efficiently as possible. Please help shape our future.

Public Safety

As I said at The State of the Parish, we are at a crossroads in Lafayette as it relates to public safety. Every five years, the insurance industry rates a city. We have maintained a low rating, meaning lower insurance rates for residential and businesses in Lafayette, the lowest rating in the parish. Now, with the growth we have experienced in areas lacking fire stations, we are told we have to build two new stations. Building the stations is not the issue, manning those stations is expensive and ongoing. We can only use 35% of our sales taxes for “operations,” (salaries, etc), the other 65% go to “capital” improvements (like building the stations). This obviously ties our hands, unlike most businesses. This isn’t simply another government inefficiency, this was voted on by the citizens of Lafayette.

Because we were able to put some money in savings after Katrina and Rita, we have been able to operate for a few years, despite some declining revenues, we planned well for the downturn. Now, with the state hitting us so hard with additional contributions to the retirement system, our savings is being depleted at an accelerated rate. We cannot afford to continue to operate like we have been able to. Fire and Police account for just at 50% of our operational budget, so they are obviously the priority for us. If you add in Public Works, you are nearing 75% of our budget. That tells you that we are not going to be able to cut the other 25% in order to build up public safety. For two years in a row, we tried to eliminate 15 positions that were not filled in Public Works. Unfortunately, the council didn’t agree with us and put them back into the budget (including councilmen calling for cuts now!). With the economy doing what it did, most of those positions have now been filled, which isn’t a bad thing, because they do the work you expect government to do, but they might also be the first to be cut.

I also stated in my address that the cost of insurance alone isn’t really the issue for most people. You can expect about a 9% increase when our rating goes from a two to a three. The real issue is how a long response are we willing to have for a fire. It will affect all areas of the city (and parish) because of stations in other areas of the city being called to help the undermanned areas of the city. There are tough decisions for the council to make, I’m sure they would appreciate your input, I know I do.

Good News

Have you seen all the great attention Lafayette has been getting? USA Today had our fiber optic success on the front page of the MONEY section, and a few days later, The Wall Street Journal reported that Lafayette had the Fastest Wage Growth in the nation! We recently were picked as the 4th best place to spend a family Spring Break.

Last week, NBC News was in town all week doing a story about our Fiber for a "Rock Center" with Brian Williams. Kate Snow was here to do the interviews. The Lafayette story should air sometime late March or early April. I am told this came about because of the story in USA Today. I do believe it will be a very positive story on Lafayette, so more great publicity for Lafayette. The world is recognizing our forward thinking courage, hope everyone here in Lafayette does too! Support your community asset, it's important!


The Charter Commission has recommended a change in consolidation. It would keep the services we receive consolidated, keeping the efficiencies we now have. But it would divide the government into a pure parish government and a pure city government for Lafayette. Do you support the Charter Commission's recommendation?