Public Works Department

The Public Works Department of Lafayette Consolidated Government not only builds and repairs, but also improves public safety and health through inspections for compliance to parish standards and regulations. The Public Works Department also includes responsibility for environmental quality.

 I.  Power

The Public Works Department is governed by the City-Parish Council. The Director of the Public Works Department is appointed and may be dismissed by the Parish President. The Director and departmental staff are under the supervision of the Chief Administrative Officer.

The Public Works Department is included in the Lafayette City-Parish Consolidated Government Home Rule Charter of 1992. The Public Works Department is charged with engineering for most departments of Lafayette Consolidated Government, construction, and maintenance of its buildings and other facilities, roads sidewalks, bridges and drainage facilities, mapping and surveying, and supervision of all contract construction work. It does not serve the Lafayette Utilities Department, the enterprise source of Lafayette Consolidated Government funds. The Environmental Quality Division also includes contract service for garbage collection and recycling, charged to the public at cost.

There are no requirements for the position of Director of the Public Works Department; however, traditionally the directors in Lafayette Parish have come from professional backgrounds. The current director is a licensed civil engineer. There are two associate directors, one in charge of Development and Environment, and the other in charge of Operations, the maintenance portion of Public Works.

There are a number of engineers and engineering technicians from industrial technology or construction training in the Public Works Departments, as many projects are in progress at all times (currently 120 different improvement projects coordinated by staff). Lafayette Consolidated Government maintains project management oversight responsibility through the Public Works Department. The Acadian Arts Center in downtown Lafayette is one large in-house project of the Public Works Department.

The mandates guiding operation of the Public Works Department include
  • Revised Statutes
  • Louisiana State Uniform Construction Codes (for public buildings)
  • Code of Ordinances, Lafayette City-Parish Government
  • Environmental Protection Agency and other federal regulations
  • Environmental Code, Lafayette Consolidated Government
  • Standards of AASHTO (American Association of State Highway Officials)
  • Lafayette Consolidated Government Policy and Procedure Manual
  • State and federal regulations

II.  Services

DEVELOPMENT & ENVIRONMENTAL DIVISION

Capital Improvements
  • Project Control
  • Design & Development
  • Right of Way
Environmental Quality
  • Code Enforcement
  • Regulatory Compliance
  • Recycling/Composting

OPERATIONS DIVISION
  • Facilities Maintenance
    • War Memorial
    • City Hall
    • Public Works Complex
  • Operations/Administration
  • Engineering Support
  • Streets
    • Street Maintenance
    • Bridge/Unimproved Road Maintenance
    • Sidewalk/Curb Maintenance/Street Sweeping
    • Grounds Maintenance
  • Drainage
    • North District
    • South District
    • City/Central Area of Influence
    • Construction
    • Support Services
  • Vehicle Maintenance

The Public Works Department handles project control for all major projects designed by consultants.  Design Development Division handles all private inspections, review and approval of in-house projects. The Right of Way Division handles all property and real estate acquisition for every department for Lafayette Consolidated Government, except Lafayette Utilities System.

Environmental quality is also a responsibility of Lafayette Utilities System, in the areas of water quality and sewage treatment, while the Public Works Department is responsible for garbage and recycling, composting debris. The Environmental Quality Division publishes the PRIDE Guide for recycling.

Parish and City of Lafayette buildings are maintained by the Parish Works Department. They include

  • Recreation centers
  • Park and golf facilities
  • Fire stations
  • Lafayette Parish Court House
  • Lafayette Parish Corrections Center
  • Heymann Auditorium
  • Science Museum

Parish revenues can be spent in both the unincorporated areas and the city of Lafayette, while city of Lafayette revenues can only be used within city limits.  However, approximately of 99% of parish revenues are spent in the unincorporated areas because their needs far exceed the amount of funding from the parish. The city of Lafayette’s needs are supported by a sales tax, in addition to the city millage.

Some of the other cities in Lafayette Parish have agreements negotiated between their Councils and the Lafayette City-Parish Council to provide minor maintenance within their city limits up to a certain cost without further approval.  Typically the city provides the materials and the Public Works Department provides the labor, from cleaning ditches to building a roundabout.  If the project encompasses both parish and that city’s land, cost is shared by an agreement.

The Public Works Department cooperates with the Director of Civil Defense, and assists in accident reconstruction surveys for the Police Department.

Advisory/volunteer groups include the Lafayette Clean City Committee, Adopt-a-Road, and the Annual Trash Bash. Volunteers also assist with the twice-a-year Household Chemical Collection Day.

III.  Money

The Public Works Department budget was $45,450,424 in 2008, with $23,500,000 net value bond issue for streets and drainage.

Every two years a cost allocation survey is done across all departments of Lafayette Consolidated Government to determine the percentage of every kind of work done by either parish or city of Lafayette.  This extensive accounting by an outside firm serves as the basis of a formula for allocating costs either from the parish or city of Lafayette revenues.

The 5-Year Capital Improvement Plan determines projects in this way:

Growth in revenue for the next five years is projected according to a formula for both the parish and city of Lafayette revenue sources. Pay-as-you-go for reoccurring expenses such as existing debt service and scheduled replacements are subtracted from the potential 5-year revenues. 

The amount of bonds that can be issued, or bonding capacity, is determined on this final amount. Due to limited funds, most bonds are issued for streets and drainage projects.  Some projects take up to 10 years to complete, so that they are carried over from year to year in the Five Year Plan.

 The website of the Public Works Department posts every two weeks the projects under construction and their status, as well as the bid schedule for projects to come. 


 Sources

Website of Lafayette Consolidated Government

Budget Document, 2009-2010, Lafayette Consolidated Government

Financial Report, Year Ended October 31, 2008

Annual Report ’09, Lafayette Consolidated Government

Lafayette Pride Guide, 3rd edition, 2009, Lafayette Consolidated Government

Interview, Patrick Logan, Associate Director, Public Works Department, Lafayette Consolidated Government

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