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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

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Lafourche budget nears completion

Lafourche budget nears completion

The 2017 Lafourche Parish budget is one step closer to completion.

The Lafourche Parish Council and administration discussed the budget at two hearings last Wednesday and Thursday. Now, council members have just over a week to submit amendments to the budget and there are likely to be many.

Council members asked questions about changes in the 2017 budget from the current one and when there were no answers, they said they intend to seek changes. There are expected to be dozens presented at the Nov. 22 meeting, which is when the budget is expected to be approved.

Some of those expected amendments and actions may include:

- Calculating the salaries for an internal auditor, internal auditor clerk and community action executive director.

- Adjusting the finance director salary to cancel out a proposed raise.

- Adjusting the deputy director of communication salary to cancel out a proposed raise.

- Checking the calculation for the salary for the parish president.

- Including a raise for the justice of peace and constable.

- Returning money to the BP oil spill account, which was spread out into various accounts.

- Adding projects from the council members wish lists that were not included in the budget draft.

Interim Finance Director Renita Jackson was present to help answer questions, but she was not in her role when the budget was created so she was unable to explain some decisions.

Councilman Jerry Jones asked Parish President Jimmy Cantrelle if the parish was broke or if it does, in fact, have money. Tax revenues remain down with the slump in the oil industry.

“We have money, but it’s getting lower and lower and lower,” Cantrelle responded. “Our fund balances are getting shorter and we don’t know what the revenue is going to be next year. It’s just caution. I like to be proactive and make sure that we have money available to us.”

Cantrelle added that he presented a balanced budget, and if the council wants to amend it he won’t argue with them.

The budget is scheduled to have final review and a vote at 6 p.m. Nov. 22 at the Mathews government complex, 4876 La. 1.

Cantrelle is expected to present his picks for the new finance director and the new human resources manager at the meeting. Tommy Lasseigne recently resigned after holding both positions in a dual role.