- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 13, 2015

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - A citizens committee exploring the finances of city-parish government for the past year is expected to issue recommendations next month on critical needs for funding local government in the coming years.

On Monday, the five-member Future Needs/Funding Sources Committee narrowed its focus to a short list of issues. The list includes road maintenance and construction, drainage, parks and recreation, the parish jail and the parish courthouse.

“We know we have an issue that will only get worse,” committee Chairman Chad Hanks said.

The Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/1ALtfbC ) still undetermined is if the committee members will issue a report simply highlighting what they see as a growing funding crisis or if they will make specific recommendations on how to address the financial problems.

There has been talk in past meetings about recommending higher taxes, but committee members on Monday were still unsure if that should be part of the group’s final recommendation.

“I don’t know if it’s our position to play the fall guy,” said committee member Jerry Prejean, of IberiaBank.

The City-Parish Council formed the Future Needs/Funding Sources Committee in February.

In meetings over the past year, the group has heard from a long list of city-parish department heads, staff and council members.

Lafayette Fire Chief Robert Benoit told the group that he needs another $8.2 million for salaries and equipment, and Police Chief Jim Craft handed the committee a $22 million wish list, including money for 40 new officers, a new police station and two new precinct substations.

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Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com

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