A majority of city residents feel like Lafayette is heading in the wrong direction. But non-city residents think we’re on the right track.
After crashing from 2014-2016, Lafayette Parish’s GDP had shown signs of recovery. Then 2020 happened, blowing a billion dollar hole in Lafayette’s economy.
GEOFF DAILY: Lafayette mayor-presidents have long used vetoes to appropriate money. That may be illegal.
Legislative bodies appropriate money, not the executive branch. But that’s exactly what’s been happening at LCG for more than a decade in conflict with a pair of attorney general opinions.
An influx of spending related to hurricane recovery and federal coronavirus stimulus is masking a still struggling economy.
With a set of vetoes, the mayor-president has boxed the City Council in again, setting the stage to spend city money without their approval.
The roles have reversed from the 2020 budget cycle, and now the City Council ought to play budget hawk.
Too many of the proposed projects deliver questionable returns, create unfunded maintenance liabilities, and inexplicably use parish dollars to pay for city responsibilities.
OPINION: Fueled by debt, Guillory’s budget proposes largest capital spending spree in city’s history
Mayor-President Guillory wants the City Council to approve a $406 million five year capital improvement program that would saddle the city with $180 million in new debt. Yet he hasn’t revealed plans, garnered public input, or addressed long-term maintenance liabilities for most of these projects. The City Council should tread carefully.
Projecting historically big increases in sales tax revenue, he is championing a quarter billion dollar increase in the city’s five-year capital outlay plan, including $132 million of new debt.
The lack of engagement might be forgivable if the proposal was amazing, but it’s not. We need to start over from scratch.
The marriage that is consolidated government is crumbling before our eyes, with both the City and Parish Councils failing to follow the fundamentals of healthy relationships. Something’s got to change.
The American Rescue Plan Act is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make our community better, one we can’t afford to waste.