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Sep 7, 2011 7:14 PM by Melissa Hawkes

City Officials Call Opelousas Budget a Financial Crisis

Some Opelousas officials describe the city's budget situation as a financial crisis, but Opelousas Mayor Don Cravins said the city's budget is okay. Council members were supposed to reach an agreement on the budget for the next fiscal year by September first, but there's still no compromise.

The council members against the proposed 15 million dollar budget think there has been reckless spending over the past few years.

Council member Blair Briggs said, "revenues are down and expenditures have pretty much stayed about the same."

Briggs is one of three council members who voted against the budget proposed for the next fiscal year, he said overspending has to stop. Mayor Cravins said there have been unforeseen expenses, like in gas prices and state retirement fees.

Briggs said, "in three years the city has spent 5.6 million dollars more than it received and our reserves are completely depicted."

The proposed budget leaves a reserve of 260-thousand dollars at the end of the fiscal year next August, but Briggs said that isn't enough.

He said, "I'd like to see a cushion of one million dollars because we are going to have unforeseen expenditures pop up through out the year."

Mayor Cravens said, "the only requirement of adopting a budget is that it is a balanced budget, that budget is balanced and we are hoping a majority of the council will see fit to adopt it."

Right now the city is operating at 50 percent of last year's budget until council come to an agreement. A majority vote is needed to pass the budget. The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday September 13.



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