In an internal memorandum dated July 23 obtained by The Ind, City-Parish President Joey Durel notifies employees of Lafayette Consolidated Government that he will not propose cost-of-living allowance in their paychecks for the next fiscal year, which begins Nov. 1. Further, Durel warns employees that their insurance premiums will rise minimally, although he indicates consolidated government plans to bear the brunt of the rise in insurance costs.

Durel cites rising costs of running government over the past few years as well as a depleted reserve budget for the decisions affecting LCG employees:

[T]he costs of running government are increasing at a faster rate than our increases in revenue. You are all aware that everything else is more expensive than several years ago — fuel, insurance, and costs related to state and federal requirements, to name only a few. While our sales tax revenues are increasing, it is not enough to cover our rising costs. Lafayette is the lowest taxed major city in Louisiana, and as our population has increased, demands for services have also increased. Without a corresponding rise in revenues, it is difficult for LCG to meet all the demands it receives for services. So, we have to work within our means and reduce expenses substantially.

The 2012-2013 fiscal year will mark the second consecutive that LCG employees have not received the standard 2 percent cost of living allowance, save for firefighters who receive a state-mandated 2 percent COLA. The last time the City-Parish Council approved a raise for LCG employees was Dec. 21, 2010 when the council voted 6-3 to give local government employees a 2 percent raise over the objections of several Tea Party of Lafayette members who spoke against the raises.

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