Jul 26, 2012 11:45 PM by Maddie Garrett

Durel to Council: City of Lafayette Pays More Than Fair Share of Parish Budget

Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel had some tough words for the LCG Council Wednesday night as the administration introduced next year's proposed budget. Durel brought up a new issue at the meeting, saying he believes the City of Lafayette is paying more than it's fair share of the entire Parish budget.

"But when you talk about not being able to hire more policemen, more firemen, things like that and you look that we may have 32 or so million dollars no longer in the city that maybe should be, it gives you a pretty good picture of where we have been and where we would continue to go if this were not to be exposed," Durel told the council.

Durel said that $32 million is just an estimate of all of the money the City of Lafayette paid to the parish over the past 16 years, that maybe it shouldn't have. Durel said it's an allocation issue, and an allocation company has been brought in to assess how the consolidated government divvies up reimbursements.

"We're a little befuddled that the unincorporated, the parish, is being told this is an amount that's owed," said Councilman William Theriot.

Here's how the administration breaks it down: The City-Parish President's Office, which represents all of the parish, was paid with 84% of City of Lafayette money, and 16% by the rest of the parish.

Durel said instead it should be divided by population: 54% of the people in the parish live in the City of Lafayette and 46% live outside of Lafayette, therefore, funding for his office should be split 54% - 46%.

"The fact of the matter is city money should not, cannot, it is illegal to be spent in the parish and that is something we need to look into," said councilman Kenneth Boudreaux.

But this new way of allocating money would drain parish funds.

"Currently what we know at this point is that the parish general fund has $13 million and if this were to take place it would not have that money," Theriot.

But the issue gets even more complicated because not all operations are based on population. But Councilman Kenneth Boudreaux wants to see some adjustments in this next budget.

"Sometimes you just have to stop the bleeding, what can we do cut that from happening and live within our means both in the city and parish of Lafayette," said Boudreaux.

The allocation issue is still in the very early stages. Much more research and calculation is being done before the council can move in any direction.

The entire operating city-parish budget totals about $580 million, with $65 million being paid in debt services.

84 positions are being cut, but those positions are vacant so no current employees will lose their jobs. And for a second year in a row, there are no pay raises, except for mandatory firefighter raises.



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