UPDATE: Over an hour before Tuesday night’s meeting, local first responders started filling the Lafayette Consolidated Government building for a meeting that would decide their future.
“You have to do what is necessary to keep the heart and soul of this police department here,” insisted Lafayette City Marshall Mike Hill.
The first of four pay raises up for vote at the Lafayette Consolidated government council meeting passed with one major concern.
Pastor Bobby Richard asked, “How are we going to afford it?”
The police pay plan adjustment will cost the city almost 4M dollars a year, but the council said that is a price worth paying.
Lafayette Police Chief Toby Aguillard said, “For the Lafayette Police Department this represents the beginning of a new era, and we’re hoping that retention issues will now go away, and that we can keep our quality officers here in Lafayette.”
Three other pay raises for the fire department, city marshal’s office, and LCG employees were introduced, and approved for later vote all at once.
According to LCG’s Chief Financial Officer Lorrie Toups, with just the police pay plan passing, the city will run out of reserve funds in 5 years.
If all the raises pass, money will dry up a full year sooner. Both candidates for Lafayette’s next mayor president pledge to look into ways to fund these raises if elected.
“I look forward to working with you so we can find fiscally responsible ways to continue to support our brave men and women of our first responders,” said Republican candidate Josh Guillory.
“I am fully committed to working the city council to find the necessary ways to fund this pay raise, and that will likely have to be through some tough work,” said Carlee Alm-Labar, who affiliated with no party.
Apart from the police pay raise, most of the issues introduced tonight will be up for a final vote at the next council meeting November 19.
ORIGINAL: The Lafayette City-Parish Council passed a motion Tuesday to implement a new pay plan for starting officers of the Lafayette Police Department.
Effective immediately, the starting pay for all first year officers will climb to $40,000 a year.
The current starting salary is $34,600 a year.
The pay increase is designed to gradually increase as officers rise in rank, PIO Corporal Bridgette Dugas said.
“It would increase pay an average of about 17% across the board.” Dugas said.
KLFY reporter Neale Zeringue is at the meeting and will have a full report tonight at 10.