Sep 27, 2011 11:22 PM by Maddie Garrett

LCG Budget Approved Despite Disputes

Lafayette Consolidated Government has been crunching the numbers for next year's budget all summer. Even with the final vote Tuesday night, there was still more than one million dollars disputed among council members.

Three main amendments were still on the table Tuesday. All were controversial topics and mostly being pushed by councilman William Theriot.

The first amendment he proposed was cutting $491,000 budgeted as an annual subsidy for the Cajundome. Theriot has proposed getting rid of that funding for several years now, but it has yet to pass.

The second amendment Theriot put on the table was doing away with $673,000 set aside for social agencies and arts groups, which includes funding for the Acadiana Center for the Arts and Festival International.

Both of those amendments were voted down, keeping them in the budget. Ralph Peters, the Executive Director of Lafayette's Family Violence and Intervention Program said he was relieved his agency wouldn't be losing what he calls critical funding.

"We provide services that the government simply does not provide. Without the services provided by the numerous agencies that receive that money, life would be kind of tough for the less fortunate folks in Acadiana," said Peters after the vote.

Finally, Theriot brought up the RedFlex traffic camera program, protesting Parish President Joey Durel's plan to use part of the program's revenue to pay for routine expenses, including benefits and salaries for traffic and transportation employees. Theriot proposed an amendment that would move that funding from routine expenses to only go towards the police department to pay for traffic safety.

Theriot also argued cutting funds for the Cajundome and external services, proposed in his two other amendments, would have filled the $1.2 million gap that Durel now wants to fill with traffic camera money.

Theriot was out voted though seven to two, with Jared Bellard of District 5 the only other council member who voted for the amendment.

"At this point, if you have the salaries and benefits, now they're going to be paid for by RedFlex monies, now you're going to have a dependency that's going to have people coming in, saying don't take away my money," said Theriot.

This budget will go into effect on November 1, 2011.



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