2018 Robideaux Report Recap
2018 Robideaux Report Recap
Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux hosted his second annual parish-wide address, the Robideaux Report, on the evening of Thursday, April 12 at the Heymann Center. During his presentation, Mr. Robideaux highlighted the administration's accomplishments and challenges from 2017, and also unveiled initiatives for 2018.
Missed the 2018 Robideaux Report? You can watch it thanks to AOC Community Media.
One of the greatest challenges of the year was the loss of Corporal Michael Middlebrook, who lost his life in the line of duty on October 1. Corporal Middlebrook was not only a valued member of the Lafayette Police Department; he was a father and husband, a son, a brother, and a friend, and he will be deeply missed. All of Lafayette shares in offering deepest of condolences to the Middlebrook family.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council played an instrumental role in helping our law enforcement officers and the community as a whole deal with the tragedy. Immediately following the incident, the Council and Administration began work to ensure survivor benefits of emergency response personnel lost in the line of duty was the best in the state.
The CREATE initiative was rolled out at the 2017 Robideaux Report as a means of diversifying our economy, creating jobs and leveraging our authentic local culture in positive ways. Since that time, Lafayette Parish voters also approved $500,000 in annual funding to establish the parish-wide cultural economy initiative. As an example of how Lafayette’s commitment to the initiative has already influence positive results for our cultural economy, Lafayette has been selected as the site for the next four years to host the Buddy Holly Educational Foundation (BHEF) songwriting workshop and music festival. Dubbed the SOLO (South Louisiana) Songwriters Festival and Workshop, the four day event is the first to be held in the US by the BHEF. Additionally, two scholarships are being provided to local budding songwriters for this prestigious workshop. Lafayette was chosen for its rich culture, relaxed nature and abundance of musical talent. Lafayette was also able to secure the Music Cities Convention 2018, previously held in Memphis and Washington DC. The convention is a who’s who of music industry people and will be held in October 2018.
In the fall of 2017, LCG submitted a project for the 2018 Mayors Challenge was named a finalist out of more than 300 applications. The Mayors Challenge grand prize winner, to be announced in October of 2018, will be awarded $5M and four cities will each win $1M to bring their ideas to life.
Mark Dubroc was appointed as the Director of Public Works in July of 2017. Mr. Dubroc was tasked with tackling the big issue of drainage for the parish, and under his leadership, the Public Works Department has identified and rated deferred maintenance projects, many of which are already underway. The projects are funded after the successful millage re-dedication totaling $9M of one-time revenues and an additional $2.5M annually for the drainage fund. While these projects are ongoing, Public Works also continues to manage day-to-day drainage maintenance needs, including roadside and coulee excavation projects, cleaning litter traps, making important repairs to sinkholes, and flushing out culverts.
In early June, Eight Days of Hope XIII, a nonprofit, faith-based organization committed to rebuilding damaged homes of those affected by natural disasters, arrived in Lafayette. The organization’s leaders and ambassadors planned and coordinated projects throughout the parish, repairing, gutting and rebuilding hundreds of flood-devastated homes in an eight day period, June 4-11. More than 2,200 volunteers from 40 states and multiple countries aided those in need.
Mr. Robideaux welcomed Liam Doyle in November as LCG’s first Disability Affairs Coordinator to serve as an official voice for citizens with disabilities. A well-known local disability advocate and former Chairman of the ACCD, Doyle has long been a voice for disabled citizens, leading efforts of education and awareness to address issues such as handicapped parking availability and Para-Transit reform, among other things. According to Mr. Robideaux, the position has long been in the making and is particularly relevant at this time because of the work and continued efforts of the ACCD. As one of his first official acts, Doyle coordinated a round table event as part of LCG’s “Enable Initiative,” which aims at pulling together a database of services available to those living with disabilities.
Early in his administration, Mr. Robideaux announced the revitalization of the University Avenue Corridor Avenue as a priority project. The University Corridor is a crucial gateway to our community and worthy of reinvestment. With renewed focus, we can begin the process of returning this area to its former cultural, social and economic status for those who live, work and travel along the corridor. In the fall of 2016 LCG was awarded funds for the development of a corridor plan to evaluate conditions along University Avenue and solicit community feedback to develop a plan for potential improvements. Through this important and focused work, we can reestablish a corridor of economic prosperity and a quality of life that represents what makes Lafayette so special.
In 2017, Lafayette’s historic Holy Rosary Institute was awarded $450,000 from the National Park Service for intense rehabilitation. LCG’s Community Development Department played an integral technical support role in the competitive grant application process and is committed to providing future assistance as Holy Rosary’s Board works to fulfill the community’s vision of restoring the historic institution.
Efforts to make the Lafayette Animal Shelter and Care Center a no kill shelter by 2020 are already gaining ground. In 2017, 626 animals were adopted (448 dogs and 178 cats). Through a growing partnership with Acadiana Animal Aid, an additional 633 dogs and cats (373 dogs and 260 cats) were saved by rescue groups from all across the country. The live outcome rates were 65% for dogs over six months of age, 83% for puppies, 21% for cats over six months of age and 37% for kittens. The Administration’s Trap Neuter Return initiative for community cats will be considered by the Council in 2018 and is expected to dramatically increase live outcome numbers for community cats.
In the spring of 2017, voters initially rejected the renewal of two existing parish-wide millages (Parish Courthouse and Parish Jail), indicating the need to build more trust in local government. With a voter outreach effort designed to both educate and build trust, voters renewed the vital millages for continued funding of these state-mandated governmental agencies.