An exchange between a City-Parish councilman and the auditor for Lafayette Consolidated Government at a recent council meeting has evidently caused some alarm among residents — enough so that LCG has issued a press release walking back the severity of parish government’s financial situation.
During a presentation at the May 16 council meeting, Councilman Bruce Conque remarked, “We are misleading the public in terms of how much money we have to spend in the parish. The parish at this point is broke.” CPA Burton Kolder of Kolder, Champagne, Slaven & Co., LLC, which audits LCG’s books, replied “You are correct; you cannot spend city monies on the Parish General Fund, that’s what people need to understand. You are absolutely correct; the Parish General Fund is going bankrupt.”
Kolder now says, via an LCG press release, that he didn’t mean bankrupt in the legal sense: “Given the lack of revenues in the Parish General Fund, it’s almost a certainty that services will continue to be cut. That’s what it means to be broke; you cut expenses which you can no longer afford,” Kolder says in the release. “Bankruptcy on the other hand is a specific court-declared legal term which infers the inability to pay debtors or to ask for debt forgiveness. This does not apply to the state of the Parish General Fund and should not have been included in my original comments.
The press release concludes that “Lafayette Mayor-President Joel Robideaux reassures that Lafayette Parish is not facing bankruptcy and is not in jeopardy of defaulting on any bonds, lines of credit or loans.”