In its first round of hearings Monday, the Lafourche Parish Council raised questions about recreation, property taxes on Saturday’s ballot and who put together the budget.
Members of the recreation district boards brought forward questions of why certain projects that they hadn’t asked for were on the 2018 budget. One of these projects was bathroom improvements in Raceland, which no one could determine where the project came from or who asked for it.
Albert Martin Jr., with Lafourche Recreation District No. 11′s board, also approached the council to let them know that the boards had not had input into the recreation budgets, nor had the parish’s Recreation Advisory Board according to Councilman Michael Gros.
“We never got a proposed budget to OK, just so you know. We didn’t get one, so we don’t know where any of this came from,” Martin said.
Councilman Corey Perrillioux asked if it was “standard protocol” to not submit anything to the recreation boards during budgeting. There was then some debate over which recreation districts had a say and which didn’t after consolidation occurred last year.
“The boards are advisory only, so maybe since they’re advisory only (the administration) felt the didn’t need to consult with them as to what they would like for them to spend their money on, which I think would’ve been a decent courtesy to extend them, but they’re advisory only,” Councilman Jerry Lafont said.
There was more discussion about the Recreation Advisory Board not getting a say either, which lead to questions about who put together the budget and whether anyone would be able to answer the questions since it appeared that much of the budget was put together by a parish employee, Tommy Lasseigne, and not Finance Director Carrel Hymel.
“Finance submits (the budget) to administration after we get proposed budgets from the department heads. Any changes would be done by administration,” Hymel said.
Lafont then said he would want the district attorney’s opinion on whether the council could question a civil service employee about the budget and if a civil service employee should be working on the budget.
Also discussed was the fact that the budget might be even worse off if two tax renewal proposals on the ballot in Saturday’s election didn’t pass. Councilman Daniel Lorraine brought up the more than $10 million in property taxes that would no longer be available if they didn’t pass and asked why no one from the parish government was campaigning for them to be renewed.
“This is on the ballot as we speak. If (the road tax) doesn’t pass, then that’s $5 million the parish is out. Not just the municipality, but the entire parish,” Lorraine said. “If that fails, we’re $5 million short and nobody campaigned for it, so we don’t know what would happen.”
The roads and bridges tax is estimated to raised around $4.8 million a year, while the public facilities and services tax is estimated to raise $5.75 million for public health programs, senior citizen programs, libraries and drainage.
The council was set to hold its next budget hearing Tuesday, Nov. 14 after its regular meeting at 5 p.m. Amendments to the budget will be proposed and the final budget will be passed at the meeting held on Nov. 28.
Editor’s note: Results of the regular meeting of the Parish Council held Nov. 14 were not available as of press time Tuesday.
-- Daily Comet staff writer Dan Boudreaux can be reached at 857-2204 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @dan_boudreaux.
Posted on Tue, November 14, 2017
by By Dan Boudreaux Daily Comet Staff Writer