Last night the Iberia Parish Council approved the coming year’s budget, but it wasn’t without some pain.
The budget cuts nearly $500,000 in spending and six positions.
Parish President Larry Richard said the parish has no funds dedicated to road work, because the royalty fund will contribute no money to the budget this year.
As recently as 2016, that fund was contributing $2 million for roads. Last year it was down to $550,000 and this year it’s at zero, he said.
“That’s what’s happening now: it is down so low we don’t have dedicated fund for roads,” Richard explained. “The people of the parish are starting to understand, we have no funds dedicated to roads. Eventually we’re going to have to do what we have to to make this parish successful.”
Richard said he was very proud of the work his team has put in to balance the budget. With more than 30 different funds, balancing the budget is a complicated undertaking, he said.
“We put a lot of hours into trying to get this budget right,” Richard said.
The work doesn’t end with the passage of the document, he added.
“We will have to monitor this budget on a regular basis like we have since we started,” Richard said. “We monitor this budget literally every day. We have a great staff here. We do what we have to do to keep this parish working forward.”
Richard said he doesn’t want people to think that Iberia Parish is in dire straits.
“In this particular business, we have to understand that Iberia Parish has 35 fund balances. Some of them are going to be better off than others,” he explained. “The ones that are in good shape, we need to move on. We need to do everything we can to put ourselves in a position to retain the businesses we have here, and also to attract new businesses. The fund balances that are lower, we have to do what we have to: monitor what we’re doing and just move forward.
“This is a great parish. We have to manage this parish the best we can in the economic downtime that we have, but understand that we’re looking forward to our future.”