Layoff of 101 employees “just a drop in the bucket” to balance Lafayette’s budget

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LAFAYETTE, La. – (KLFY) Lafayette can expect more tough decisions ahead to balance the city and parish budgets. Tuesday, the administration said its latest move to layoff more than 100 employees was only a drop in the bucket.

Every department and every service is weighing its cost and benefits to taxpayers. Lafayette was already over budget this year, and COVID-19 has made things much worse.

“The COVID-19 situation has made every single government across this country ask what is an essential function of government because you have to start there,” explained Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory. “You have to start there. We don’t have an infinite supply of funds.”

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Lafayette’s annual budget was already $18M in the red. The Lafayette Consolidated Government estimates an additional $10M in lost tax revenue this year which would deplete over half of the city’s $50M reserve funds.

“With our economy in the shape that it’s in, both getting hit with the COVID-19 public health emergency but also oil prices, it really puts a strain on the city general fund, the city budget, but also the parish,” said Guillory.

Decisions like laying off 101 employees were not made easily admitted Guillory, “These decisions definitely way heavy on the heart, heavy on the mind. They are tough decisions, but they are decisions that had to be made.”

That tough decision only provided $440K this fiscal year, so Guillory expects more cuts ahead to balance the budget, “That move was to help stop the bleeding. We are nowhere near…That did not solve everything.”

According to LGG, it lost $1M in revenue during March alone, so they have a long way to go. Guillory said he’s making sure each department finds ways to do more with less but that could mean fewer services not deemed essential functions of government.

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