There's no better budget than one that includes pay raises for all Lafayette City Parish employees. The budget for next fiscal year was introduced to the council Thursday night.
According to the Chief Financial Officer, Lorrie Toups proposed expenditures, including inter-fund transactions and capital outlay total $598 million. Toups reports that's compared to $581.5 million that was adopted for the current fiscal year. The difference of $16.5 million is primarily due to a $5.8 million increase in Utilities, a $5.4 million increase in Communications and a $5.2 million in Elected Officials and Related Officials. Projected Revenue increases include property and sales taxes.
Councilman William Theriot says the budget introduction was just that – the council will take it home and look it over.
“Naturally we hope everything is okay. There's no guarantees, but until we go through it step by step which is what we're supposed to do; we're going to have to wait and see,” says councilman Theriot.
LCG President Joey Durel made a few recommendations; one being pay raises for all city parish workers. Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux is happy about it. He says a competitive paycheck helps to retain employees.
“I was hoping we would be at 3 percent as opposed to 2 1/2. With our health fund balance, with our anticipated sales tax revenue; we look to generate I think we still have a chance at that,” explains councilman Boudreaux.
Other proposed budget recommendations from the City Parish President include a property tax reduction of about 1.94 mills in Mosquito Control and the Parish Health Unit. Plus, the $5 million the parish owes the city can be settle by approving the continued use of parish funds to help support public works; which uses general fund dollars to help with operations.
“We have basically found a way to reverse the bleeding from the city into an area that is important to us; but it's an inappropriate use of that money,” says Durel
In particular focusing on public safety, drainage, transportation; these are the highlights that we need to hit the most. Make sure that's taken care of,” adds councilman Andy Naquin.
The council chair Brandon Shelvin is clear on one budget recommendation; pay raises for employees. Shelvin wants to see it happen if money permits. “I look forward to voting for that. I will be extremely surprised if that doesn't pass in the budget,” says councilman Shelvin