KVPI News Director, Stephanie Ware, attended a Budget Meeting held at the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office Thursday morning. In attendance was Sheriff, Eddie Soileau, Dirk Deville, Josh Fontenot and Mike Fontenot. The Sheriff was presented with the Amended Budget for 2016-2017. Amendments to the Original Budget included a significant amount of “back billing” that was never collected, including $483,000 for ‘State Inmate Holding”. With all of the Amendments to the Original Budget, the Amended Surplus adds up to $843,186.00 for 2016-2017. Soileau stated “I have never seen a number like that in nine years.” The Sheriff adopted the Budget then moved on to the proposed Budget for 2017-2018.
The Surplus for the projected year goes down significantly to $155,279.00. Deville and Josh Fontenot explained one of the reasons for that is because they will be spending more money to “meet the needs of the Parish, put more deputies on the roads and meet the needs of each department.” The Expenditures in the new Budget increase from $1,170,817 in 2016-2017 to $1,406,429.00 in 2017-2018 for Salaries and Payroll Taxes. Josh Fontenot stated that they are “cutting the Surplus but providing more for the Parish.”
The Sheriff stopped carrying liability insurance for deputies last year and as reflected in the new Budget, he will continue not to carry it due to the extremely high cost of doing so versus what insurance has ever paid out. When Stephanie asked why they will not carry the insurance, Deville stated that they had previously paid out close to half-a-million dollars for the premiums and insurance had only paid out approximately $18,000 so he said they will be self-funded like the Police Jury.
When Soileau reflected on the Surplus for next year only being $155,279, he stated “I don’t like that number, but we will have to live with it.” He then adopted the Budget for 2017-2018.