Citizens committee releases list of suggestions to save Lafayette money and bring more in

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LAFAYETTE, Louisiana — A citizens committee has come up with a list of suggestions that might generate and save money for the city-parish government of Lafayette.

The Future Needs/Funding Sources Committee, formed by the City-Parish Council in February 2014, released its list of recommendations Thursday.

Some of their revenue-generating ideas included increasing fines to help support the courthouse and jail.

The group also proposed new or increased taxes for drainage, recreation, roads and bridges, and rural fire protection.

The group was charged with finding ways that will help pay for improvement in Lafayette.

The committee focused on five key areas: public safety; drainage; roads and bridges; parks and recreation; and the maintenance and operation of the courthouse and jail.

On their list, the committee recommended special drainage districts that could impose new property taxes with the revenue supporting projects only in the areas they cover.

"We are clogging up, and the water is not moving through the parish anymore," said committee chairman Chad Hanks.

In addition, the group suggested increasing the recreation tax and collecting it parish-wide for parks and recreation. Currently, the recreation property tax is collected only within the city of Lafayette.

"It's woefully inadequate for the cost of this operation," said committee member Jason El Koubi.

The Advocate reports (http://bit.ly/1Jw3Fef) to save money, the committee recommended the city-parish officials transfer their control of the seven parks located in smaller municipalities of the parish to those municipalities.

Hanks says he hopes the group will firm up the ideas in the coming weeks and report its findings to the council by the summer.

Any action of the committee's recommendations will be in the hands of the City-Parish Council, and any proposal for new taxes would need voters' approval.

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