Putting Out The Fire: Louisiana Towns to Mediate Annexation Dispute
After the major of Broussard, Louisiana decided to drop a lawsuit he filed against the Lafayette Fire Department, Broussard residents will now continue to receive the protection of the larger municipality’s fire services. To the relief of both cities, Mayor Charles Langlinais agreed to pursue mediation instead of litigation in the land annexation dispute between Broussard and Lafayette.
In a recent statement, Langlinais said, "We will end our opposition to that annexation as a sign of good faith in the hope that Lafayette will respond in kind. I now call upon Mr. Durel [the City Parish President] to make a similar showing of good faith by simply agreeing to sit down with Broussard's representatives and a neutral mediator to resolve the remaining annexation dispute, the water issues and all other remaining disputes."
Joey Durel, the City Parish President, informed the press that they would not agree to mediation or make any formal response until there was written proof that the Mayor had dropped the lawsuit. "We have not been informed of anything about this other than through the media," Durel said. "Until we see it, we won't have any response."
The dispute dates back to 2010, when both cities wanted Plantation Oaks subdivision and the Vieux Chenes Golf Course to become additional land owned by their respective municipalities. Being the larger of the two, Lafayette annexed the land, leading to a court dispute from the City of Broussard that alleged many of the residents in the area in question preferred to be part of Broussard instead.
"We have a proper, a legal, annexation that our neighbor has chosen to be hostile toward," Durel said. "To the people of Broussard, I would say that as city-parish president, I don't have any jurisdiction within your city. This is a city government issue between Broussard and Lafayette. They have to understand that I am also the mayor of Lafayette, and the people of Lafayette deserve a mayor to protect their interests."
Following the dispute, the City of Broussard lost some of its vital services provided by the City of Lafayette, including animal control. Fire dispatch services were to be next on the list, before the Mayor’s decision to remove the dispute from litigation