The Iberia Parish Council’s finance committee unanimously approved the issuance of a $1 million bond for Iberia Parish Fire District No. 1 after Chief Guy Bonin talked about a severe shortage of revenue for this fiscal year.
“This is what’s commonly called a line of credit, or officially a revenue anticipation note,” bonding agent Jason Akers said at the meeting.
“It will provide funding for the fire district for the rest of the fiscal year.”
The bond is expected to be paid out for a period of one year or slightly less, Akers said.
“(This is to) continue to operate the fire district, plain and simple,” Bonin said. “We are down almost $800,000 in revenue of our taxes. I went in and cut about $300,000 out of my budget, and doing the best I can.”
Bonin said the bond money would be used as finance director Kimberly Segura determines funds are needed. Any bond money not needed would not need to be paid for.
The issuance of the bond also comes as the Fire District No. 1 rolled up its millages a point or two. However, Akers said the district would not be seeing that revenue until the next fiscal year, and the extra money is expected to make up any shortfall the department is experiencing.
Bonin said the cuts that were already made were needed, but the department would have to live without.
“We’re going to make sure (the cuts) don’t affect the department,” he said. “I sat down with my departments and made them understand what’s going on. We made changes and doing thing differently, we’re just being very cautious.”
The agenda item will advances to the next Iberia Parish Council meeting, where it will be voted on for final approval.
In other business, the IPC voted down a proposal to give the council the ability to approve an agenda before every meeting.
The ordinance, which was introduced by Councilman Warren Gachassin, was intended to streamline council meetings so that agenda items that needed to be tabled for the future could be done so at the beginning of meetings.
However, some council members believed that the new rule could allow council members to delete agenda items that they didn’t want discussed.
“I have a problem with this agenda item. I just don’t see the value of it,” Councilman Eugene Olivier said. “If one of my constituents asks me to put something on the agenda, and one of y’all decide to delete it I think it’s unfair to the constituent.”
Olivier pointed out the IPC chairman has the power to delete agenda items prior to the meeting, as well.
“I think we have a process, I think it’s worked fine. I know I would feel upset that I wanted something talked about and it would get kicked off at the beginning,” Chairman Paul Landry said.
However, Gachassin said the council would have to have a majority vote to actually delete an agenda item.
“I don’t think it’s a tactic that we’re trying to cut off debate. This is for down the road and someone’s sitting here and their agenda item is last, and we decide at the end of the night that we table it, what would be the point of those people sitting here the whole night?” Gachassin asked.