Aug 29, 2013 11:26 PM by Erin Steuber
The three biggest spenders on the Lafayette Parish Council are asking for more money in the upcoming budget. Councilmen Kenneth Boudreaux, Don Bertrand and Brandon Shelvin accounted for 91-percent of the council's total expenses last year. While some councilmen didn't spend a dime, those three spent nearly $18,000. It's money they're legally allowed to spend, but now they're asking for more.
Currently councilmen are paid the same $25,480. But by law, at any time during their 4 year term, a councilmen can ask for a 10-percent raise ($2,548), something councilmen Boudreaux and Shelvin are requesting.
"Actually, because I'm probably the hardest working councilman here. But we have a very healthy budget and there's a lot of demand to serve this very progressive city that we live in," said Boudreaux. "When I first got elected I committed to using part of my salary to serve my constituents."
Boudreaux is also asking to increase the council's data reimbursement plan for phones from $50 a month to $100.
"I don't think you could actually get a data plan for $50 today," said Boudreaux. "So it was just an increase to respond to the cost of doing business."
And while parish employees are already budgeted to get a 2.5% raise this year, Councilman Boudreaux is proposing to increase that to 3% across the board.
"We froze positions. We eliminated departments. We've cut back tremendously on the personnel side.Those employees who were left behind were charged with maintaining the service level we had become accustomed to. I think that's justification to reward them," said Boudreaux.
But the increase in the budget doesn't stop there. Shelvin and Councilman Bertrand are asking for increases to cover their travel expenses to the annual tune of $4,000 each.
"Well the other councilmen don't travel," said Bertrand. "Some of my travel consists of going to Washington and lobbying on behalf of our utility. So I think it's really important to make those relationships and take offense, or take defense, whatever needs to be done."
We were unable to reach Councilman Shelvin for comment. But these amendments to the budget are not final. There is another budget session scheduled for next week, with the hopes to adopt the final budget in a meeting on September 12th. And as always, all meetings are open to the public.