Councilman Jared Bellard Reacts To “Very Big Shock” About Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel’s Lafayette Budget Proposal
Lafayette City-Parish President Joey Durel has laid out his budget for Lafayette Consolidated Government for the upcoming year.
The budget proposal came as quite a surprise to many of the council members as figures from the Durel Administration detailed new calculations for services that are performed in the city and the parish. He contends that the prior firm tasked with the job of deciding how funds are allocated between the city and the parish did not do an accurate job.
Durel gave an example of how the calculations were wrong before. In part of his statement he said, "It looks like Public Works has been spending 60 percent of its time outside the city of Lafayette yet only getting reimbursed 30 percent.” Durel contends that when you calculate all the sums for the last sixteen years, the amount the unincorporated area owes to the city is $32 million.
That news came as a shock to Lafayette City Parish Council Chairman Jared Bellard. "Anytime someone is owed $32 million.....it's a lot of money." He adds, "It was a very big shock. Anytime somebody is owed $32 million you have to say 'really'?"
Bellard is asking to see the paper trail to validate Durel's claim of a $32 million allocation error before moving to what the solution should be. "I think you need to present some type of paperwork and documentation supporting this $32 million. That's the thing......that's some strong words saying the parish owes you $32 million and if you don't have any and I don't want to say evidence, that's the wrong word, but just show us, show us how this became. Give me some paper trail on this."
Bellard has several concerns. He said, "My main concern is, how did we miss this? You know, government needs to have better checks and balances, because I guarantee you in my business if someone owes me 32 million dollars, I'm not going to wait until since 1996 to 2012 to catch it."
Bellard says several questions need to be answered:
- What formula did the allocation company use?
- What numbers did they use?
- How does the government let this happen?
- Where do we go from here?
"Sixteen years, $2 million a year, city tax dollars can't be spent in the parish ( unincorporated ). Get the old firm and new firm together and explain the numbers," says Bellard. The Council Chairman says he is not saying Durel is not saying the truth but "educate me and the public on that". "It's not fair to city taxpayers if they have been footing the bill for the unincorporated area."
For Ken and Bernie's interview with Jared Bellard, CLICK BELOW:
KPEL's Bernadette Lee and Brandon Comeaux contributed to this story.