St. Landry Parish Council tackles budget deficit, considers employee layoffs

Photo: KLFY
Photo: KLFY

OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) – Heavy shortfalls are forcing the St. Landry Parish Council to do some rearranging on their budget.

According to Parish President Bill Fontenot, the parish has a $700,000 deficit because of a severance tax on oil this past year, which could mean laying off between 13 to 17 employees.

“If we’re spending so much or run so much of a deficit, we may have to layoff some people. That’s unfortunate. I regret that,” Fontenot said.

At a special parish council meeting Tuesday night, members proposed cutting other budget items, such as items from the health unit, workman’s compensation and janitorial services.

“We’ll be looking at other ways, different other avenues, if there’s other places we can make cuts where it won’t be as many other jobs loss,” said Jerry Red, vice-chairman of the St. Landry Parish Council.

Fontenot said the possible 17 employee cuts equals about $700,000 thousand dollars, with 11 of the employees coming from public works.

“I’m also not just laying them off. I’m also going to create a path for them to get other jobs through our workforce investment board. I’m going to connect with people who knows where jobs are similar jobs,” Fontenot said.

Fontenot said he plans to have a CPA in the office to keep the parish up to date on expenses month to month.

Councilman Jerry Red said the 2017 budget approval may take longer than the December 31 deadline.

“We are in the late midnight hour right now and I’m not sure if we’ll meet that deadline right now,” Red said.

Red said the council will continue meeting within the next couple weeks to possibly finalize some of these cuts.

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