A Parish President to lead the newly-established Parish Council
Uniting Different Parish Interests
Lafayette is a small parish with six different municipalities. We are all parish residents, no matter our zip code. We can only solve the difficult problems we all share, like roads and drainage, if we are cooperating instead of competing. Carlee will:
- Form a Council of Mayors to help advise the Parish Council. Carlee will bring in the elected officials from Broussard, Carencro, Duson, Scott, and Youngsville to help lead the discussion on parish-wide issues and help formulate solutions together.
- Institute stronger cooperation agreements between the parish government and the municipalities to improve cooperation and cost-sharing on road and drainage maintenance projects and find solutions to pressing issues like fire protection in the unincorporated areas of the parish.
- Work closely with other parish-wide elected officials and the leaders of parish institutions (e.g. Lafayette Parish School System) to leverage resources and drive community improvement in areas that impact our ability to compete such as education and beautification.
Balancing the Broken Parish Budget
The parish budget isn’t just broke—it’s broken. Consolidation has not fixed the parish’s problems. We are in a time of extreme budgetary distress for the parish. The “rainy day” fund is empty, and it’s raining. Parish taxpayers deserve real talk. The answer starts by restoring fiscally conservative budget practices. Carlee will:
- Realign parish spending and priorities. Right now, parish taxpayers are saddled with some costs of consolidation that don’t make sense—for example, paying more than their fair share of the consolidated government’s I.T. budget or code enforcement in the unincorporated areas. Any dollar that isn’t being spent on improving roads and drainage should be heavily scrutinized for a cut.
- Support and lead the new Parish Council in restoring fiscal discipline to the parish budget. Carlee led the Fix the Charter movement in order to give parish taxpayers their own voice in Lafayette Consolidated Government. The new Parish Council will start on day one with only one agenda: to tackle parish issues head on.
Implementing a Comprehensive Approach to Prevent Catastrophic Flooding
To be able to mitigate the damage from floods like 2016, we need to safely store stormwater for as long as possible before it overwhelms the Vermilion River. Historically, however, our approach to drainage as a parish has been disjointed, focusing too much capital spending on projects that speed up the flow of water to the river, shifting flood risk from one area to another. We have to think bigger. We have to think about projects that safely detain flood waters, programs that incentivize good local practices, and policies that promote smarter development. Carlee will:
- Work to convert large floodways throughout the parish into regional detention facilities, where large amounts of water can safely collect and store, greatly reducing the strain on our coulees and the Vermilion River.
- Pursue long-term, high-impact approaches, like state and federal funding to dredge the Vermilion River, restoring the river to its 1950s depth, as well as working with state and federal officials to study the potential of high-impact drainage megaprojects like diversion canals.
- Immediately re-direct local funding away from drainage projects with low or minimal impact to those that actually lower the base flood elevation in surrounding neighborhoods and watersheds. Because we have limited local funding, every dollar has to count. No more political pet projects; every project will have to demonstrate an impact, and all LCG infrastructure projects must be evaluated for their ability to assist in stormwater management.
- Work with the other municipalities on a coordinated plan for maintenance of parish-owned and municipality-owned channels and to strengthen, clarify and standardize the drainage standards and regulations that are applied parish-wide.
- Partner with the Acadiana Planning Commission, the University of Louisiana, and state and federal agencies to continue to develop the flood modeling and other research efforts to build smarter, better-informed stormwater management policies.
- Promote and incentivize voluntary citizen efforts to manage stormwater, including efforts to decrease impervious surfaces and increase onsite water management.
Streamlining the Development Process
Carlee has worked in development from both the private and public sector. She knows how to strike the right balance. Great development can help drive our economy, but development pressures can also sometimes create friction with existing neighbors with concerns over issues like traffic and drainage. As mayor-president, Carlee will:
- Create a development liaison (through a reorganization of positions and not an expansion of government), to focus on problem solving with developers and neighborhoods, as well as fixing improper regulatory barriers. This position will also lead the coordination of our economic development activities.
- Continue the refinement of our development regulations. Carlee led the work in 2015, under the prior administration, to reform our development codes—modernizing practices, getting rid of conflicting rules, and greatly increasing drainage standards in the Unified Development Code, or UDC.
- Break down the silos that currently regulate development in LCG. As planning director, Carlee reorganized the department, instituting several reforms to make the department more customer-friendly. Carlee will extend those reforms across the other departments of LCG that work with developers and neighborhoods, all with an eye to making it easier to do business by resolving regulatory conflicts, eliminating redundancies and increasing efficiencies.
A Mayor focused on strengthening the City of Lafayette, the heart of our region
Keeping LUS Strong; Keeping LUS Local
City taxpayers own LUS. It’s the city’s most valuable asset. We have the most reliable service in the state. LUS contributes almost $24 million to the city’s budget each year—to put that in perspective, that’s enough to pay most of the salaries of our first responders annually. Carlee is the only candidate who supported the charter amendments to protect LUS and keep it under local control. Carlee will:
- Continue to push the limits of LUS’s capacity for innovation for the benefit of our city and ratepayers. LUS Fiber was a great example of the type of innovative, job-creating initiatives that come from local control—our only limitation is our own vision. Carlee is ready to lead the discussion about the future of our greatest asset.
- Leverage LUS to upgrade utilities infrastructure to support growth and infill throughout the city. Residential development downtown and in other older parts of our city has been hampered by aging and inadequate infrastructure. Carlee will prioritize this work and help spur economic development.
- Employ LUS Fiber as a community asset by expanding LUS Fiber to other parts of the parish and utilize the city’s asset to help bridge the digital divide.
Modernizing Our Approach to Regional Economic Development and Job Creation
Our recent wins in the technology sector have been measured in the hundreds—that’s a good start. We must continue to diversify our economy in high-paying sectors like technology, health care, energy, and finance. Only through careful management of public-private partnerships can we provide the type of job environment that will attract new jobs by the thousands to our parish and region. Carlee will:
- Ensure Lafayette Parish is the catalyst that drives economic development for the entire Acadiana region. And every other thriving region of the country has a world-class downtown at its core. We have to stop competing against ourselves—an economic win anywhere in the parish is good for everyone. Let’s work together to compete against other regions our size in this country.
- Drive reinvestment into older parts of our community. The designation of Opportunity Zones in much of north Lafayette and the older parts of Lafayette is an example of one avenue to promote reinvestment in some of our oldest and most distressed neighborhoods.
- Implement a new strategy to relieve traffic congestion by targeting infrastructure investments on reducing bottlenecks at intersections of major roadways. With limited dollars, all traffic funding should be prioritized to congestion reduction.
Keeping Our Neighborhoods and Families Safe
Many of our neighborhoods are in a constant struggle against drugs and violence. And too many of our children have to grow up in unstable and unsafe environments. Carlee understands these challenges because she has worked and volunteered for organizations that deal with families in crisis. Carlee will:
- Work to strengthen the tools that police and neighborhoods have to address these issues—our officers have to have the proper tools and training.
- Coordinate with relevant experts and institutions for community solutions. Carlee has experience working for organizations that deal with abused women and children going through the foster care system. There is no one single answer to these very complex problems. For this reason, the best approach is multi-disciplinary. Carlee will coordinate with our court system, judges, district attorneys, and law enforcement with our social service providers, neighborhoods, churches, and the school system.
- Convene neighborhood discussions. Many residents have begun taking charge of their own neighborhoods’ safety. Carlee will make sure that LCG is a partner in those efforts. She has the contacts and experience to help lead our community in open and honest discussions on public safety.
The Leader that Lafayette Deserves
Leading an Effective Charter Transition
Carlee is the ONLY candidate who has supported the charter amendments. Those amendments protected LUS, gave city of Lafayette taxpayers fair representation, and ensured that all of us, as parish voters, have a dedicated parish council to focus on parish issues like drainage. She led the fight to pass the amendments. The charter amendments adopted by the voters in December of 2018 will go into effect on the first day of the new Mayor-President’s term. As Mayor-President, Carlee will:
- Ensure a smooth transition for both citizens and LCG staff. Carlee is the only candidate with the experience and motivation to do so.
- Lead both the parish council and city council in efforts to finally get control of city and parish spending, right-sizing the shared costs of consolidation.
- Establish new procedures to help clarify to taxpayers how their city and parish tax dollars are being spent, with a clearer and more transparent cost allocation process.
Leading LCG with Communication and Confidence
The government must work for all citizens. The more than 2,000 employees that work for Lafayette Consolidated Government must feel responsible to the citizens we serve, and that starts with strong leadership that communicates values and direction up and down all levels of the organization. Carlee recognizes that the Mayor-President is the CEO of one of the largest employers in the parish, and she has a strong management philosophy focused on communication, responsiveness, transparency, service, and creative solutions. Carlee will:
- Demonstrate a willingness to look at new ways of doing things. “That’s the way we’ve always done it” is absolutely not a reason to continue doing things that way. Carlee reorganized the Planning Department to be more customer-focused and reflect a responsiveness to the needs of the community.
- Operate an open and transparent administration. All citizens of Lafayette have a right to expect transparency and communication from their government. That is the only way to build trust with government and with one another.
- Lead by example. Carlee has a history of leading by example across sectors and subject matters. She will bring that same philosophy to leading Lafayette Consolidated Government and the citizens of our community.
Leading for Everyone, Regardless of Political Party
Carlee is a unique candidate for Mayor-President; she is not registered with either political party. As a “no party” independent candidate, Carlee is looking to build a Big Tent, where everyone in Lafayette feels heard and welcome, where we talk about solutions that bring us together, not differences that drive us apart. Carlee has always been well-respected by community leaders on both sides of the aisle, precisely because she knows how to build consensus by respecting everyone. As Mayor-President, Carlee will:
- Put Lafayette first. Carlee is the only candidate in this race who knows that the job of Mayor-President is to put local issues ahead of national politics.
- Recognize solutions that work. If an idea may work, it should be explored, regardless of who thought of it first. Potholes aren’t a Republican or Democrat problem, they are everyone’s problem. Let’s tackle those problems together.
- Stand up against forces that seek to divide us. The last few years have seen the rise of angry, dishonest groups on social media. Disagreement is okay, even healthy. But these groups hide behind Facebook accounts, deliberately spread false information, and try to bully those who don’t agree with them. Enough is enough. Carlee will run a positive campaign that demonstrates that we can disagree and debate while still remaining truthful, respectful, and responsible. Our children are watching how we treat each other. Let’s be good examples.