MC presents $37 million budget

By: GEOFFREY STOUTE

MORGAN CITY — The city released an approximately $37.48 million budget for the 2012 fiscal year that reflects flat tax collections but includes the 2 percent longevity raise for employees that have been employed by the city for at least a year.

Mayor Tim Matte, in releasing the budget, said that sales tax, occupational license and ad valorem taxes all are expected to remain flat from their projected 2011 totals but are expected to be approximately $130,000 higher than 2010, the last full year that tax collections are on file.

While revenues are expected to be approximately $100,000 lower than 2011 in the city’s General Fund, Matte said that cost-cutting steps the city has implemented has helped them endure higher costs in many departments.

In the consolidated budget, though, which includes the General Fund, the city projects, about $36.63 million in revenues for 2012, up from about $36 million in revenues in 2010.

The most lucrative items in the city’s 2012 revenue column include about $6.95 million in tax collections, roughly $2.91 million in intergovernmental revenues, about $1.35 million in charges for services, and roughly $23.98 million in utility operations.

The tax collections are the same from 2011 and about $21,731 less than in 2010. The intergovernmental monies are about $1.29 million more than in 2011 and roughly $1.45 million more than in 2010.

Charges for services are about $23,498 more than is anticipated for this year and $40,025 less than in 2010.

In utility operations, the city projects collecting $649,589 more in revenues than 2011 and $326,364 more than 2010.

As for expenditures, Matte said the city continues to incur increases in retirement system costs and inflation in the budget.

He said that the policy of closing one of four fire stations to avoid overtime at that station would have to continue.

“We must continue that policy in order to properly fund the Fire Department,” Matte said in a prepared statement during the council meeting.

The fire department’s budget is about $2.15 million for 2012, $51,832 more than what is projected for 2011 and $72,425 more than in 2010.

He also said personnel expenditures in the city’s police department continue to be challenging as well as filling open positions.

“In fact at this time, we are short four corrections officers and two police officer positions,” Matte said. “Filling these positions would help us to keep our overtime charges at a reasonable level.”

The police department’s budget is projected at about $3.52 million for the upcoming year, a slight increase from 2010, but $67,367 less than in 2010.

Matte also said a few capital outlay requests have been included in various departmental budgets, but city leaders will hold off authorization to spend these until the city has more confidence in the its 2012 revenues.

The capital outlay portion of the budget is up about $1.85 million from projected 2011 totals and roughly $1.47 million more than 2010.

The budget includes about $37.48 million in total expenditures, up from about $35.13 million in expenditures in 2010 and the $34.56 million projected for 2011.

The biggest expenditure is utility operations, which are anticipated at $22.13 million for 2012, up $975,191 from projected end of year totals for this year and $705,232 more than in 2010.

While the budget projects an $850,273 deficit, when factoring in other financing sources, the city will end the year with about a $21.33 million surplus.

“This budget does provide for spending in excess of expected revenues; however, recurring expenditures are provided for by recurring revenues,” Matte said.

The mayor said he welcomes the public’s comments and suggestions on the budget.

“Our city employees have a significant stake in this budget and of course their input would also be appreciated,” he said.

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