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St. Landry Council eyes budget cuts - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

St. Landry Council eyes budget cuts

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St. Landry Parish Council is considering slashing the budgets of City Marshals' Offices and City Courts in Eunice and Opelousas.

Those cuts would save the parish about $20,000 next year, but the Parish Council is still considering the potential impacts. 

Councilman Harold Taylor proposed the amendment to cut the funding for the Opelousas and Eunice Marshals and City court.
It's a proposal that Parish President Bill Fontenot says caught the council off guard.

"I do not believe at the last meeting, because they had a few abstentions, that the Council did not know fully the extent or impact of these cuts," explained President Fontenot 

Fontenot's original budget includes at least 5 % cuts for every department across the board, saving the parish $200,000.

Taylor says the Marshals and City Courts receive "non-mandated" bonus funding, and by principal, their funding should be cut to be equal to all the other departments. 

"We're favoring one, the City Courts, in my opinion, the City Courts and the Marshals, over the District Attorney, the Sheriffs, the Clerk of Court, and all these other guys. Politically, how does that play with the Sheriffs, the DA and the courts whenever you say; look we're gonna cut you five percent but we're gonna give the Marshall and City Courts eighty percent more than we're gonna give you?," explained Councilmen Taylor 

"I don't consider it bonus money. Over the years, the Marshals Office has struggled to fund it's activity. They root out drugs in the community and they're on the ground. They're heavily depended upon to assist the Sheriffs department, Police Departments. So, over the years the Council has passed the budget, with that amount of money in the budget," explained President Fontenot 

Taylor says the Parish can use the additional savings to pay off Parish debts.

The council will discuss the amendment on December 20th, with a final budget expected by the end of the year.

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