UPDATE: The vote about the unpaid debt was tabled as Council members say they want to check with their finance department to review other options.
NEW IBERIA, La. (KLFY)- Iberia Parish is facing budget issues due to an RV that isn’t bringing in enough money to pay its debts.
When the park opened in 2014 the parish hoped it would be additional tourism and money into New Iberia, but that hasn’t been the case. Now the Iberia Parish Council is faced with a decision whether to forgive 1.8 million dollars in loans.
“Do we leave it on the books and wait for the auditor to write us up and give us a black eye or do we be progressive and go ahead and take care of our business ahead of time,” says Paul Landry, Council Members for District 7.
The 14 member council meets tonight and will face members on opposing side of the debt.
“Several council members feel that it’s an uncollectible that. Do I agree with that? Absolutely, I think it’s uncollectible. Am I in the position to pencil whip the taxpayers to the tune of 1.8 million dollars? Absolutely not,” says Ricky Gonsoulin council member for district 8.
Gonsoulin says it’s too premature to forgive such a large amount of debt.
“Citizens of Iberia Parish needs to know times are not what they used to be and we are having to take over the obligation from the previous council,” says Landry.
In addition to the loans, the parish is actively paying on a 15 year, 5 million dollar bond note.
In January the parish’s Parks and Recreation Department took over the RV park. They have used their existing staff to run the facility and are helping off set the parish’s annual bond payment.
Even with the help of Parks and Rec Landry still, wants the debt gone.
“At this point no time near will the money be payed back,” says Landry.