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City department heads react to mayor's request for proposed budget cuts

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BATON ROUGE - City department heads are responding to the mayor's request to cut at least 20-percent from their yearly budgets to prepare for the likelihood of the City of St. George.

"It's going to be unbearable really," said Transportation and Drainage Director Fred Raiford.
A study completed last year predicts an incorporated St. George would suck nearly $48.3 million from the City-Parish budget annually. 
"I can't imagine being able to cut my budget without some type of layoffs or anything like that, so hopefully we won't have to get to that point," said BRPD Chief Murphy Paul. 
Something the mayor is hoping as well, since if police and fire cannot cut their budgets by 20-percent without sacrificing the public's safety, the remaining departments will have to absorb it and work on a little more than half of their budgets. 
But even with the 20-percent reduction, the mayor's office says the public will notice. 
"DPW, roads, drainage, basic services that we provide would really be affected" said Chief Administrative Officer Darryl Gissel.
Raiford says it could negatively impact traffic or force them to push maintenance costs over to an already under-funded DOTD. 
"Certainly it's going to have a tremendous impact on public services for our community," he said. 
Not to mention, an almost certain cut to jobs.
"I'm sure there will be some jobs that we will have to look at and some of the vacancies that we have we will end up losing those."

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