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.
Most of the Protect the City Committee’s attention has been focused on how consolidation isn’t working for the city. But consolidation is hurting not just the city but the rest of the parish as well.
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.
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.
Every part of parish government is underfunded. And there’s no way to fix it without raising taxes.
At a time of incredible economic and financial uncertainty, the parish council can’t afford to rededicate CREATE’s millage to any other dedicated fund. Instead what’s needed is flexibility to navigate an uncertain future, which is why this millage should be redirected to the parish general fund.
Lafayette’s roads suck and both our city and parish budgets are in disarray. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do something about this problem. We just need to reprioritize maintaining the infrastructure we already have.
Years of kicking the infrastructure can down the road has finally caught up with us.
The gist: As expected, Mayor-President Joel Robideaux vetoed a council budget amendment that would have kept $7 million in a project to complete Louisiana Avenue. Instead the money will go into a stormwater diversion fund he proposed at budget introduction. The council could override the veto with a six-member majority, an unlikely outcome.
Everyone knows Lafayette’s roads are bad. But some roads are so bad they’re a public safety hazard. Unfortunately there’s just not enough money to fix them, and the problem is getting worse every year.