LAFAYETTE, La. — Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory has announced that he intends to use more than $13 million in CARES Act funding for budget measures that include $1 million for police training, $10 for a fund for living adjustments for fire and police personnel and potentially reinstate the 2% pay increase for employees that was left out of this year's budget.
According to a release from Guillory's office, the Lafayette Consolidated Government’s Office of Finance & Management has determined that Lafayette Parish was reimbursed more than $13 million dollars in CARES Act funding, primarily for salaries and expenses related to the work of first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first proposal aims to dedicate $10 million of the CARES Act reimbursement funds to the Police and Fire Sustainability and Resiliency Fund, which would finance local and state mandated cost of living adjustments for police and fire personnel.
Guillory cites the recent increase in starting pay for new police officers that created significant fiscal impacts on the City General Fund that will grow over time.
The resiliency fund would provide a multi-year path to sustainably improve the city’s ability to provide competitive compensation in the long term, the release states.
Guillory proposed the dedication of $1 million of the CARES Act reimbursement to fund comprehensive crisis management training for the Lafayette Police Department in September at the budget adoption hearing.
The release states that police officers deserve the best information, resources and situational training to protect themselves and others in times of potential violence in the current environment both locally and nationally.
The dedication of $1 million to this purpose is a reflection of a commitment to place our community, our officers, and our people in the best possible position to be safe, successful and prosperous, the release states.
The final budget measures that Guillory mentions in the release is funding for a 2% pay increase for LCG employees that was omitted from this year's proposed budget due to the expected impact from coronavirus and plummeting energy prices.
Guillory said that he pledged then that he would not oppose this measure in the future, if LCG is financially able to afford it.
“As a result, l will be proposing the reinstatement of this pay increase to be considered by the councils at the first council meetings in the new fiscal year,” Guillory said in the release.
According to an LCG spokesperson, the 2% pay increase for employees will be discussed by the Lafayette city and parish councils at Tuesday’s meeting and would go into effect in the new fiscal year.
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