With unanimous approval by the Lafourche Parish Council, the amended 2020 budget sits on the parish president’s desk, awaiting the green light or veto in early December.
Parish council members proposed amendments during their regular meeting on Nov. 26. All members were present except for Craig Jacuzzo.
Several of the proposed amendments redirected recreation money. Councilman Jerry Jones’ request for $100,000 to pay for the ongoing design of the expansion of Heroes Park in Thibodaux was unanimously approved.
Councilman Daniel Lorraine’s push to shift the $100,000 designated for the Lockport Community Center swimming pool’s construction to the Golden Meadow Boat Launch failed in a 5-3 vote.
He said the boat launch needed repairs and believed not enough of the parish-wide recreation tax was spent on the southern end of the parish.
Councilman Armand “Noonie” Autin said he supported improving the parish’s boat launches but “vehemently” opposed taking the money from the Lockport center, a project he’s worked on for over two decades.
Councilman Jerry Lafont, Lorraine and Jones voted in favor of the amendment, while council members Luci Sposito, Bo Melvin, Michael Gros, Corey Perrillioux and Autin voted against.
Aside from the center and a swimming pool, the budget includes money for baseball fields outside the center.
Lafont initially proposed a budget amendment that would take all $400,000 slotted for those ballparks in the 2020 budget and split it between the Larose Civic Center and the Cut Off Youth Center. Each of the centers would have received $200,000.
Instead, Lafont amended his request to shift $100,000 from the ballpark fund to give the Larose and Cut Off centers an additional $50,000 each.
Lafont emphasized that both centers were in need of repairs and didn’t receive enough for maintenance. His request passed unanimously.
The council also unanimously approved $15,000 toward a trailhead off of Bayou Lafourche, $60,000 toward covers at the Marydale, Abby and Waverly bus stops, $250,000 for improvements to the Lafourche Parish Rodeo Arena and $50,000 toward putting in speed bumps at various locations throughout the parish which have yet to be determined.
In a 6-2 vote, the council approved decreasing the risk manager’s salary by 34%, or $36,522, after a debate over whether they were allowed to cut a single employee’s salary.
Gros argued that the board could get into legal trouble by singling out an employee’s salary outside of the parish president. He said they should cut funding to that department and let them decide how to arrange the money.
Lafont, who proposed the salary cut, said it didn’t make sense for the risk manager to make $101,000 a year. The salary for the position had jumped from about $65,000 to $101,000 in two years.
Parish President Jimmy Cantrelle will have 10 days to take action on the budget. Should he veto it, the council will have the opportunity to override the veto.
-- Daily Comet Staff Writer Halle Parker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 857-2204. Follow her on Twitter, @_thehalparker.
Posted on Tue, December 3, 2019
by By Halle Parker Daily Comet Staff Writer