The Port Allen City Council has introduced a budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year with a proposed $9.1 million spending plan.
The plan dips somewhat into the city’s savings in order to satisfy new capital expenditures, such as: to provide funding for computers for the police department and to replace the handheld devices that the meter-readers for the water and gas department use.
“You are using your fund balance, your savings, to pay for some of these expenditures,” CFO Audrey McCain said. “You can do that. It’s legal and ethical to do that. You just need to know that you’re doing it.”
McCain said she is also projecting a $290,000 surplus in the general fund and a $68,000 deficit in the water and gas fund. However, McCain said the deficit in the water and gas fund consists of paper losses (a depreciation) and not cash losses.
She said the big items that were in last year’s budget are in this year’s budget. Last year’s budget was only approved in January under Interim Mayor Lynn Robertson, after former mayor Demetric Slaughter’s controversial 11 months in office ended with her successful recall.
McCain encouraged city council members to remain in contact with her regarding the budget document they received in regular city council meeting May 14.
“Look at it, call me,” she said.
The document was available for public inspection in Port Allen City Hall beginning May 15.
Though the document may undergo some changes between May 15 and the next regular city council meeting on June 11, McCain said, “What will be available for the public is this (May 14) document.”
That document does not yet include the state-required budget message, but McCain said Mayor Richard Lee is in the process of reviewing it.
“It will be attached to the budget ordinance adopted next month,” she said.
In other news, a “community development” group of residents, led by Rose Roché, has been meeting for the past three weeks. Roché came before the city council on May 14 promoting the group as “a group of caring volunteers representing a cross-section of the population” and a group that “will continue with the attitude of one Port Allen.”
“We’re just in that big planning stage now,” she said. The group has several committee chairs, but not a wide base of volunteers so far.
Councilman Garry Hubble said, “I’m behind them 100 percent.”
Councilwoman Ray Helen Lawrence said, “Hopefully they will be able to work with me with some of the things I’ve been doing or promoting,” such as the Health Fair on Nov. 8.
Roché agreed, saying, “We have a healthy city initiative that we’re putting together.”