$32 refund delayed againOct 7th, 2013 | By Candace Griffin | Category: News
After months of listening to the scornful complaints of residents, the St. Bernard Parish Council thought they were one step closer to refunding the $32 fee that had been added onto residents’ water bills in August of 2012. The fee, used to cover a deficit in the 2012 budget, was much opposed by residents, and the legality of in acting such a fee was called into question several times.
According to Council Chairman George Cavignac, the Council felt that it needed to put this whole event behind them and return the fee as soon as financially possible. However, at Tuesday’s meeting complications arose when the Council tried to introduce an ordinance that would allow for this refund.
Last month, the Council passed a resolution stating that they wish for the Administration to refund the money, but Councilman at Large West, Guy McInnis expressed that in order for this to be carried out an ordinance must be passed. However, after speaking with the Parish’s finance director, Ross Gonzalez, McInnis said that in order to satisfy state requirements the Council must pass a budget amendment.
Instead of amending the ordinance on the table to include this budget amendment, the Council decided to withdraw the ordinance and introduce the budget amendment on its own at the next meeting.
“The Council’s initial desire was to quickly refund the $32 fee by credit on the residents’ water bills,” said Council Chairman George Cavignac. “But the legislative auditor advised us that a budget amendment was necessary, so we’re introducing that instead.”
“Due to the legal aspect of this, we want to make sure we do this the right way,” said McInnis. Until this budget amendment is passed, the $942,560 that is owed to residents will remain in its own bank account.