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Lafayette Joint Council meets for 2020-2021 budget review

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Posted at 5:01 PM, Jul 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-28 19:52:09-04

LAFAYETTE, La. — The Lafayette Consolidated Government held a special joint meeting of both city and parish councils to review the proposed budget of the upcoming fiscal year 2020-2021.

LCG Chief Financial Officer Lorrie Toups gave a presentation to the joint council that served as an overview of the proposed budget, which she described as the “Opening Ceremony” for the budget process with the “Closing Ceremony” taking place in September after the public comment period ends.

Toups said that one of the newest challenges when crafting this year’s budget was the split councils.

She said that initially, LCG thought it would be a black and white process to determine which parts of the budget would be for the city and the parish, but that was not always the case.

“We’re going to work through this and see how it works over time,” she said. “And over time, I think we will see things progress.”

Toups also mentioned the “good old days” of November 2019 when the city had a fund balance of $55 million, which would have been plenty to handle a pandemic or other natural disaster.

However, Toups said that LCG has used about $18 million of its fund balance so far, which is about one third of the fund balance. And if LCG makes no changes and keeps its $18 million spending then at the end of three years, the LCG fund balance will only be at $1 million.

Toups also mentioned that due to a recent ruling by the Treasury Department, LCG will get reimbursed $6 million for first responders salaries from CARES Act.

Health insurance premiums will also increase for LCG employees, which is only the second premium increase in the last eight years due to expansions from the Affordable Care Act.

Toups said that LCG is looking to have more telehealth booths in areas including the police department, fire training center, LUS and City Hall.

According to Toups, LCG is predicting that parish sales taxes will be down 25% compared to last year.

She said that this is an ongoing estimate as the environment created by the COVID-19 pandemic makes forecasting difficult.

Toups said that initial predictions for city sales taxes showed a 50% decrease, but was revised to a 35% reduction and then to a 27% reduction based on continued trends in unemployment and the supply chain.

A public hearing for the 2020-2021 budget is set for Tuesday, Aug. 18. The Lafayette City and Parish Councils will hold a special joint meeting on Thursday, Sept. 10, to vote on final adoption of the budget.

You can view the full calendar of the Councils' Budget review schedule below.

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