Parish prepares for November 3 budget hearingNov 2nd, 2012 | By Jessica Gonzalez | Category: Top Story
Councilchair Guy McInnis and Executive Finance Committee Chairman Richie Lewis hosted a Town Hall meeting at the council chambers on October 30, to receive resident input on the proposed 2013 budget. The parish’s first round of budget hearings is Saturday November 3 at 8 a.m.
During their October 16 meeting, the council passed an ordinance that allows the parish to take out a $5 million bond in the event that they do not have enough funds to balance the 2012 budget.
On October 18, the state bond commission agreed to give the parish $3 million of Revenue Anticipation
notes in order for the parish to “maintain operations”. The remaining $2 million is “contingent upon receipt and verification of the Parish Council budget for fiscal year ending December 31, 2013.”
“We will only draw down on the funds if we need them,” explained Parish President Dave Peralta. “The
bond is secured by the property taxes we will receive in early 2013. We will have to make cut backs probably in personnel to insure we balance the 2013 budget.”
Councilchair Guy McInnis and Executive Finance Committee Chairman Richie Lewis held a Town
Hall meeting on October 30 to hear parish residents’ input on the proposed 2013 budget before Saturday’s budget hearings.
Among attendees concerns was the Dec. 8 ballot proposition, which if approved by voters, would allow
the parish to rededicate a 1/2 cent sales tax to the general fund.
Residents questioned the two councilmen as to whether or not there will be a garbage collection fee on
their water bills should the 1/2 cent sales tax be rededicated.
“That’s a possibility, if the 1/2 cent sales tax is moved back into the General Fund,” said McInnis.
In terms of what they wanted to see from their elected officials for the budget hearings, residents want
the council to be thorough.
“There are needs and there are wants; you have to go through every line item on this budget with a fine tooth comb,” said one citizen.
Another resident suggested that in the future, the council hire an outside auditor to come into the parish
to determine whether or not each department is staffed efficiently.
“I like to pay for whatever we need, but I also like to see that I’m getting my money’s worth,” said another citizen. “Maybe we are overstaffed, I don’t know, but maybe we should think about getting a
state agency in here to assess the parish and tell us how much we really need.”
The proposed 2013 budget, which was drafted in the event that the 20-mills for the Fire Department
on the Nov. 6 ballot does not pass, eliminates 78 fire personnel and would close
nearly half of the parish’s stations, among other cuts.
The first budget hearing is scheduled for November 3 in the council chambers from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.