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Proposal on how to spend $85 million aid will be presented at next LCG meeting

Posted at 10:33 PM, Jul 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-15 23:33:07-04

LAFAYETTE, La. — At the next Lafayette Consolidated Government meeting on Tuesday, Mayor-President Josh Guillory will present the administration's proposal on how to spend more than $85 million. The money comes from federal covid relief funds to the parish and the city from the American Rescue Plan Act.

But, a city council member says he was not asked for feedback on how to spend the funds.

Council member Glenn Lazard says he and council member Pat Lewis were planning on having a meeting to hear community input about the funds on Wednesday, one day after the administration presents its plans.

“I personally like to get community input,” Lazard told KATC. “It’s the taxpayer’s money and they should have a voice in how the money is spent.”

A spokesperson for LCG says at Tuesday's meeting, the mayor will present how he thinks the aid money should be spent. They confirm the city council has the option to defer or approve it.

Plus, an introductory ordinance would start the timeline for the annual budget. From that point, budget hearings would take place, and the annual budget must be approved by November 1.

Council member Lazard says he wasn't asked for input on the spending plan for the aid funds and that it is not the first time that some council members are left in the dark on decisions made by the administration.

“I don’t remember especially, but we’ve had some situations arise in the past where we receive information either second hand or from the media as opposed to from the administration,” Lazard said.

He says the stakes are high.

“This is going to be a very rare opportunity for us to address some very pressing needs in the community and it’s incumbent upon us that we get it right,” said Lazard.

In a statement, LCG confirms that Mayor-President Guillory did ask for feedback, but only a few council members responded.

“Just as the Mayor-President presents the administration’s annual budget to councilmembers, he is proposing a separate budget to address American Rescue Plan Act funds, including key quality-of-life initiatives.

Those details will be presented to council members and the public at Tuesday night’s council meeting.

The proposal is well-thought-out with input from stakeholders, receipt of requests from council members, input from departmental directors and staff, along with the Chief Financial Officer, Chief Administrative Officer, and the Mayor-President himself.

The MP asked for councilmembers’ input on how they’d like the funds to be used. Only a few responded.”

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