City-Parish President Joey Durel will deliver his final State of the Parish address Wednesday, Feb. 11, from noon to 1:15 p.m. at the Cajundome Convention Center as part of The IND Lecture Series, sponsored by IberiaBank. The occasion will mark Durel’s 12th address in the SOTP series, which launched during his inaugural year in office in 2004.
In addition to addressing the economic health of Lafayette Consolidated Government, the Republican politician and former pet store owner has been known to offer bold initiatives in his annual remarks. During last year’s SOTP address, Durel presented what he called a “one-year, one-cent, one-project” tax proposal for funding specific infrastructure projects with temporary sales taxes. In particular, Durel hoped the mechanism would help fund a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
That idea came to fruition as the tax-financing plan to build a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport — an eight-month parishwide sales tax (a whole year of collections was not needed) that will be levied beginning in April and is expected to generate more than $35 million of the roughly $90 million cost of the new terminal. Voters embraced the plan, approving it with 59 percent of the vote on Dec. 6.
Durel has offered no hints about his plans for his final SOTP address, but with oil prices falling precipitously and some of the larger players in the oil and gas industry in Lafayette looking seriously at scaling back operations, attendees might expect plenty of cautionary remarks about the future prosperity of Lafayette.
This year’s SOTP will follow the format introduced last year, with Durel participating in a Q & A with IND Managing Editor Walter Pierce and Editorial Director Leslie Turk after his address. Questions will be collected by IND staff before the start of the luncheon (note cards will also be available on tables to write questions) or can be emailed in advance to [email protected]
IND Media will continue this event after Durel leaves office. “A dozen years ago, both Joey and his opponent Glenn Weber could see the value of an annual progress report to the community,” says IND Media Co-Publisher Cherry Fisher May, “and they both committed to launch SOTP. We’ve already spoken informally to the candidates who are talking about or have confirmed their plans to enter the 2015 race to replace Joey, and they’ve all indicated they intend to continue the tradition.”
For ticket info call Robin Hebert at (337) 769-8603 or email her at [email protected] Tickets are $45 per person and $395 for a table of eight (there is free seating for the general public for those who want to hear Durel’s presentation but do want to be served lunch).