NEW IBERIA, La. — The Iberia Parish Council met Wednesday evening and approved a budget for the 2021 fiscal year.
Council chairman Eugene A Olivier, Sr. tells KATC that the council worked through the issues and were able to finalize and vote to approve the budget, and he says the parish's finances still remain strong.
At the end of 2020, the parish should have an ending balance of a little more than $46,000,000, and is projected to end next fiscal year with nearly $52,000,000.
Total expenditures for 2021 are expected to be $56,678,784.
Some areas will see cuts, including Public Works ($845,248 less than last year's total, while 2021's budget has nearly $450,000 set aside for capital projects) and Culture and Recreation ($993,814 difference in total budget and no capital project funds).
About $200,000 more will be available next year for Economic Development, while Capital Outlay saw a nearly $11,000,000 cut.
Among specific changes for next year, the proposed budget was amended to include a $30,000 allocation for the New Iberia Pepperplex.
Funds were also allocated for the repair of the Sugarcane Festival building, which was damaged earlier this year.
The parish 4-H organization is also set to receive $25,000 in the new budget.
The council decided not to move forward with allocating funds for roof repair work on some of the parish libraries.
Olivier said the council wanted a better understanding of what exactly is needed for those costs, and the council will amend the budget next year once more information is available.
According to the Daily Iberian, a large issue for the administration is the lack of proposed additional funding for parish road maintenance; Public Works Director Dexter Miguez said the 2021 budget is about the same as last year.
Chief Finance Officer Kim Segura explained that there is some funding available, but not the amount necessary for major road projects. She said the parish gets around $1 million in state funding, and about $350,000 goes into the road fund, while the rest is deposited into the general fund.
Olivier added the council will continue to find ways to increase revenue wherever and whenever possible, and will continue to review and make adjustments to the budget as necessary.
District 5 councilman Warren P. Gachassin, Jr. said he applauds the administration for some of the items approved in the budget, but there are still some challenges ahead, and the council is working to make sure the parish is "frugal" in the way it is spending money.
The approved 2021 budget can be viewed below:
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