Thursday, February 6, 2014

Journal and Courier Reports Lafayette Slowly Building Rainy Day Fund

From the Lafayette Journal & Courier:

After a decade of scrimping, saving, not filling positions and other belt-tightening measures, Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski is inching toward his goal for the city’s rainy day fund.

The balance will reach $2.7 million, pending council approval Monday night to transfer $300,000 from the cumulative capital fund to the rainy day fund, according to controller Mike Jones.

That’s a staggering increase from the $11,000 balance whenRoswarski took office in 2004.

Then, Roswarski said, the city was $3.5 million in debt, employees were laid off and department budgets were slashed as a result of the 2003 state legislature’s change in the way local property taxes were capped.

“I have consciously tried to find ways to reach the accounting recommendation to have 10 percent of the general fund budget set aside,” Roswarski said.

Lafayette has socked away an average of $260,000 a year over the 10 years Roswarski has been mayor. That represents a certain amount of fiscal restraint in terms of not creating positions, and making equipment last as long as possible.

For example, the average rainy day deposit equals more than half of the $425,000 price tag on a new firetruck that arrived in June.

Despite the efforts, Roswarski said, “It is still not where we want it to be.” The fund should total around $3.2 million, based on the 10 percent rule.