Glen Hidalgo (Dist. 4) said he thought “we set a record last meeting for making financial allocations by expanding the agenda. I’ve gotten some negative comments from the public. I think that’s getting out of hand a little bit. I think we need to, unless it’s a true necessity, without advertisement to the public, I think we should slow down.”
Councilman Albert Foulcard (Dist. 9) said “I wish there was some way we could organize our thoughts and our ideas and the people’s money.”
He said Iberia Parish allocates a bulk of funding from the budget and “all these people come and fight for the allocation.”
Foulcard said the council allocates money “on a whim.”
“Everybody in St. Mary Parish deserves the right to come up here and get some of our money,” he said. “Doesn’t matter where they live at.”
Councilman Charles “Butch” Middleton said, “There are certain times you do have to expand the agenda. Maybe last time it was a little overboard. I hope we never have a problem expanding the agenda.”
Hidalgo said if an item is on the agenda, council members can ask questions in advance.
Councilman David Hanagriff (Dist. 3) said he understood that sometimes requests do not get onto the agenda by deadline. “But it is our job to do what we have to do, and we should get those in a timely manner,” he said.
“Maybe you don’t have mayors calling you up at the last minute requesting funds that are raised in a district specifically for those types of allocations,” Councilman Steve Bierhorst (Dist. 10) said. “I had an incident last meeting when a mayor called me late and was asking for funds for recreation. It’s tax monies that are collected by the people of that district, which they are entitled to. Those allocations were asked for, they were explained, so I don’t see anything wrong with that.”
Bierhorst said allocating funds from the general fund is a different matter, and “some districts in this parish have used all their three-tenths (tax collection) money up on other things and have allocated and set them aside for projects. Guess what, they don’t have any monies in those budgets. That’s not the fault of the districts that are prudent and have money. Why should we fault or hold back a district that does have the money and does spend it prudently?”
Hidalgo said he understands the need for funding in a hurried situation, but some allocations were of a nature that they could have been delayed to another meeting.