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Hub Citizen Budget Guide

LCG’s budget is a vision statement and an action plan. It sets how much we spend on public safety, infrastructure, recreation, housing, healthcare and more.

This guide explains how the budget works, and keeps tabs on what’s happening in the news and how you can get involved.

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How does the Budget work?

Budgets account for revenues and expenses.

Revenue comes from property taxes, sales taxes, state and federal grants, utility bills, various fines, charges and more.

Expenses fall into one of three categories: personnel (salaries and benefits), professional services (contracts and contractors) and capital outlay (like infrastructure, public facilities, equipment). Each department produces a budget.

Funds assign revenues for the city and parish government expenses. Most are dedicated to specific services like drainage, roads or parks. For instance, a dedicated drainage tax flows to the drainage fund to cover drainage-related expenses. General funds account for undedicated money. 

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What’s in the Budget?

Because Lafayette has a consolidated government, its budget includes revenues and expenses for city and parish functions. LCG reports budgets for each department and for capital improvements.

You can see the Guillory administration’s proposed budget here, which we’ve adapted into this interactive visualization:

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How is the Budget made?

There are essentially three phases to LCG’s budget process: 

  1. Proposal: The mayor-president and his administration propose a budget.
  2. Review: The councils review and amend it.
  3. Adoption: The mayor-president signs off, with the power to veto amendments.

At final adoption, the mayor-president may veto the councils’ changes. That veto can be overridden by four or eight votes depending on if the line item is solely funded by the city or the parish or jointly funded. 

It doesn’t stop there. Budgets are living documents, and they’re adjusted throughout the year by the councils and administration through mid-year budget amendments.

Review is where most of the action is during the budget-making process. The councils hold hearings, working through the budget line by line and proposing amendments. At the end of that process, the councils vote on amendments, some individually if there’s a dispute; the rest as a group. 

Amendments are where the public has the most opportunity for impact. Every line item in the budget can be changed if enough council members and/or the mayor-president want them to. And that happens regularly, especially when council members hear from their constituents. 

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How to Participate

Budget Hearings

The most direct and immediate way you can engage in the budget-making process is to attend or watch the budget hearings. Here’s the 2023 schedule:

  • Aug. 10, 9 a.m. – Community Development & Planning, City Court, City Marshal, Disaster Response, Administration (Joint)
  • Aug. 10, 1 p.m. – Drainage, Transportation, Public Works (Joint)
  • Aug. 15, 9 a.m. – Parking, Criminal Justice & Corrections, Health, Library, Elections (Parish)
  • Aug. 15, 1 p.m. – Public Safety, Parks & Rec (City)
  • Aug. 17, 9 a.m. – Utilities (City)
  • Aug. 22, 5:15 p.m. – Public Hearing
  • Aug. 31, 1 p.m. – Wrap Up and Amendments
  • Sep. 14, 5:15 p.m. – Final Adoption

Public comments aren’t taken at budget hearings, but you can attend or watch them live or on-demand via AOC Community Media.

After budget review, there is a public hearing. You’ll only get three minutes to speak, but it provides a direct channel for your voice. 

Public comment is available during final adoption. The public can weigh in on amendments as they’re considered for vote. 

Contact your Council rep

The best way to get involved is to engage your council representative directly. Some are responsive. Some aren’t. Don’t let that discourage you.

  • Have a question about a project in your district? Email your council rep. 
  • Are you part of an organization impacted by budget? Request a meeting with them. 
  • Upset about a decision? Tell a friend. Write a letter. Post it on social media. Organize a protest. 
  • Happy about a decision? Tell a friend. Write a letter. Post it on social media. Organize a celebration. 
  • Are you not getting the answers you need? Tell a reporter. Pressure never hurts. You can email us here

There’s nothing wrong with advocating for what you believe in. Our elected representatives do respond to public pressure. Find your council district here and email your council rep at one of the addresses below:

City Council

Parish Council

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