Saturday, August 17, 2013

"LUS Fiber officials expect to meet financial targets"

The yearly round of Lafayette City-Parish budget meetings is in swing and Thursday afternoon's event featured LUS utilities and its separate fiber division. It's an index of just how uncontroversial LUS Fiber now is that the only concerned citizens in the crowd were there with the pages from the electrical utility's budget and  the one and only "blue card" public speaker was concerned about fuel efficiency and residential power conservation. The Lafayette Advertiser didn't bother to report anything at all. In fact, the only local media outlet to notice the occasion was KLFY who, rightly, focused on the real news of the night: that LUS was considering shutting down the old Doc Bonin electricity plant and investing a new combined cycle gas generating plant.

The Baton Rouge Advocate on the other hand, sent reporter Richard Burgess, who has had the Fiber beat for years and was around during the fireworks of the fiber referendum. Burgess highlights the latest milestones in long climb toward full profitability:
LUS is now making enough to cover debt payments and is expected to bring in enough money next year to begin setting aside cash to re-invest in the fiber-optic system as it ages, according to projections from the City-Parish Department of Finance and Management.
By 2015, LUS Fiber is projected to make its first payment into city’s general fund of $1.5 million, followed by a $2 million payment in 2016 and a $2.5 million payment in 2017, according to the budget projections.
All in all its good news: both the continued march toward self-sustainability and the lack of a contingent of devoted naysayers unable to credit any good news. Granted that Mr. Theriot still found it necessary to assume the worst about any item that seemed in the least ambiguous but no other councilman exhibited even a hint of malign distrust and even Mr Theriot seemed able to hear sensible explanations when they were uttered. Maybe they are all actually growing into the role. Maybe we all are. One can hope.

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