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LCG looking at 20% budget cuts across all departments

Posted at 12:35 PM, Jun 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-02 19:08:21-04

LAFAYETTE, La. —
The Lafayette Consolidated Government announced on Tuesday that it is looking into major budget cuts for the city and parish heading into the rest of the fiscal year.

Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory said he has instructed the directors of LCG departments to find budget reductions equivalent to 20% between now and the end of the year on Oct. 31. He said that only police and fire protection, drainage and roads will be spared from this new budgetary operating standard.

Guillory also announced that he had accepted the retirement of longtime director of LCG's Parks and Recreations Department Sen. Gerald Boudreaux.

In an email obtained by KATC, Guillory told council members that Frank Wittenberg will be serving as acting director and is expected to be appointed as interim director at the appropriate time.

Guillory said that LCG is the effects of that economic emergency in financial and budget impacts on the city of Lafayette. If LCG continues to its present levels of spending, Lafayette’s entire $50 million savings account, known as the fund balance, would be completely gone within two years. At the same time, the city would be running at an annual deficit of more than $15 million.

"It’s a recipe for a major fiscal disaster in a very short period of time," said Guillory. "And I won’t let that happen to our city."

He added that the $50 million fund balance is losing $18 million due to the budgeting of the previous Lafayette City-Parish Council.

Guillory said that the current sales tax estimate, which takes into account COVID-19 and oil prices, forecasts another $10 million loss. This means the savings account could be depleted by nearly 60% by the end of the current fiscal year on Oct. 31.

Even if sales tax collections improve significantly, Guillory said that LCG is still faced with spending half of its fund balance this year.

"Like every family in Lafayette Parish, our government must live within its means," said Guillory. "We can’t spend more money than we have. And the money we do have needs to be spend on our core priorities or for investments that can help fundamentally change the equation."

On June 2, the Louisiana Department of Health reported that there were 803 COVID-19 cases in Lafayette Parish, which is 10 more than were reported yesterday. LDH also reported 27 deaths, which is one more than was reported yesterday.

Cases across Louisiana increased by 405, and the number of deaths increased by 34. The total number of cases in the state is now at 40,746. This is 405 more cases than were reported on Monday.

A total of 2,724 people have died of the disease in Louisiana as of Tuesday. This includes 34 more deaths than were reported yesterday.

The LDH is reporting that 31,728 coronavirus patients are "presumed recovered" (updated weekly).

The LDH reports that 639 people are hospitalized and that 83 require ventilators

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