The committee charged with advising the newly formatted Lafayette government on Wednesday heard from three city-parish directors, who provided breakdowns of how the city and parish budgets affect their departments.
Members of the Transition Committee members were relatively quiet as they absorbed the information from the directors of information services and technology, community development and public works.
Lafayette Parish voters on Saturday will select two new councils, one for the parish and one for the City of Lafayette, to replace the existing City-Parish Council. The administration will continue to deliver services with separate funding sources from the city and parish, which are legally distinct but operate as a single consolidated government.
In previous meetings, some of the 14 committee members — who were appointed by various governmental entities within Lafayette Parish — fretted over how a single mayor-president will manage to work with two councils whose interests won’t always align.
One of the concerns is getting the two councils to agree on one consolidated budget, which in the past has relied on the city to cover 80 to 90 percent of operating costs and most equipment costs.
The committee called in the three directors on Wednesday to ferret out which parts of their departments were functions of the city, parish or both.
The question is more about legislation than budgeting when it comes to community development, since most the department’s programs are federally funded housing services. The two new councils will vote on federal grant applications for programming in the City of Lafayette and unincorporated areas, the department director, Shanea Nelson, told the committee. Other municipalities in the parish can apply for those grants independently of city-parish government, she said.
Budgeting for Information Services and Public Works could be thornier, since those departments deploy personnel and city-owned equipment across the parish. The city, meanwhile, covers 87 percent of Information Services’ operations under an allocation formula devised by a third-party consultant. The city and parish each contribute between 35 and 40 percent of Public Works’ budget, with other sources making up the rest.