Lafayette Consolidated Government and Lafayette Utilities System employees will receive a 5% pay raise effective around Dec. 16.

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Norris Williams Jr., a utility repairman for Lafayette Utilities System, celebrates as the LUS employee pay raise passes during a Lafayette City-Parish Council meeting Tuesday, November 19, 2019, in Lafayette, La.

The City-Parish Council approved the raises in November. On Tuesday, the Lafayette Public Utilities Authority, which governs LUS and includes five council members representing the city of Lafayette, unanimously concurred.

Pay raises approved for Lafayette firefighters, consolidated government employees

The council previously approved pay raises for Lafayette Police and firefighters, based on pay plans for those departments. Their raises do not need the utilities authority's approval.

Chief Financial Officer Lorrie Toups previously cautioned the council about funding pay raises, a recurring expense, with the city's fund balance or savings.

The Lafayette Police Department raises, which increases starting officers' pay from $34,600 a year to $40,000 a year, will tap into the city general fund by about $3.6 million a year. The Fire Department raise will use $2.6 million from the city general fund.

Toups calculated the 5% raise for other employees would cost the city general fund $900,000 a year based on budgeted salaries. On Tuesday, she said not everyone is earning the amount budgeted, so the cost to the city general fund will be about $100,000 less than anticipated.

Easing the stress on the general fund, she said, is that property taxes and sales taxes also are increasing and should generate more than enough money to make up for the 5% raises this year.

City officials already were dipping into the general fund reserves by $11 million this year for recurring expenses. Without the three pay raises, the city was expected to end the fiscal year that started Nov. 1 with $34 million in its general fund balance.

With the three raises, the city general fund reserve will drop to about $27 million by Oct. 31, 2020, and could be depleted by 2023.

The 5% pay raise for LCG employees also will use $60,000 from the parish general fund.

Email Claire Taylor at ctaylor@theadvocate.com.