The roles have reversed from the 2020 budget cycle, and now the City Council ought to play budget hawk.
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.
8/3 Council Preview: Willow Street jail, charter commission, City-Parish Alignment Commission appointments
Some controversial items are up for consideration this week, like declaring a new Willow Street jail a public necessity and calling a charter commission to examine further changes to Lafayette’s home rule charter.
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.
Up for votes and discussion are a host of issues, including next year’s budget, how to spend the $83.5 million of fiscal recovery money, taking first steps to build a new jail, rezoning the Oil Center, investing $1 million in parks, and more.
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.
Since consolidation, the city of Lafayette has spent more than $100 million propping up the parish’s perpetually faltering finances. $100 million can buy a lot of opportunity.
Council approves $20 million in emergency spending for stormwater projects and spot dredging Bayou Vermilion
The administration took advantage of emergency declarations made by LCG and the state to push the appropriations through. Now it’s got a pool of funding that can be deployed without going to bid, just ahead of hurricane season.
The past and current mayor-president have used loopholes to appoint unqualified directors for LUS and LUS Fiber without the City Council’s approval.
On the docket for the next city and parish council meetings are increased costs for LUS, budgeting the new LUS Fiber director’s salary, more drainage projects and a reprieve for some restaurant permit holders.
Rather than contribute constructively to the important community dialog about the future of consolidated government, Guillory chose to pollute the waters by twisting the truth to fit his preferred narrative. The city and parish of Lafayette deserve better.