Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel and four outgoing council members bid farewell Tuesday in the final council meeting of the year before a new administration and new council members take office in January.
Joel Robideaux in January will replace term-limited Durel, who thanked the council for its successes over his 12-year administration and thanked his administrators and staff by name.
“I feel very proud of our work,” Durel said.
He highlighted the successes of his administration and the council members with whom he served, pointing to the fiber initiative and the construction of two natural gas plants as major economic drivers for both the parish and the region.
He praised the passage of the Lafayette Comprehensive Plan, the Unified Development Code and the preservation of the Horse Farm property as forward-thinking measures approved by the council that will serve the parish for years to come.
“I think Lafayette is gonna be a great place,” Durel said.
He also pointed to the success of the eight-month tax that helped fund expansion at the Lafayette Regional Airport, a model he said will help fund future traffic and drainage projects the public has long voiced as its primary concerns but declined to pass a permanent tax to fund improvements.
Durel suggested the model should be used to construct the proposed South City Parkway bridge to alleviate traffic on Ambassador Caffery Parkway.
“That is the solution, a true solution, to future traffic on Ambassador Caffery,” Durel said.
As he has in the past, Durel also pointed to consolidation as a lingering problem for the unincorporated parts of the parish.
“The people of unincorporated Lafayette Parish deserve a much more focused effort than consolidation can provide,” Durel said.
With a new parish president comes a new council:
Two-term council member Don Bertrand, District 7, did not seek re-election and will be replaced by Nanette Cook.
Keith Patin, District 8, did not seek a third term and will be replaced by Liz Webb Hebert.
Filling a seat he vacated in 2008, Bruce Conque will replace defeated one-term District 6 council member Andy Naquin.
Pat Lewis will replace defeated District 3 council member Brandon Shelvin, who served two terms.
Follow Lanie Lee Cook on Twitter, @lanieleecook, or contact her by phone at (337) 534-0825.