LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — A new citizens committee has begun studying Lafayette city-parish's finances to figure out how local government can maintain strong police and fire departments, build new roads and meet other financial challenges in the coming years.

The Advocate reports The Future Needs/Funding Sources Committee, formed last week by the City-Parish Council, held its first meeting on Wednesday.

The group of five people is expected to come up with recommendations by January.

Council Chairman Kevin Naquin says the committee will have full access to budget information and all city-parish department heads.

The initial meeting Wednesday was brief, mainly for introductions and to lay out ground rules and hash out a meeting schedule.