Proposed parish budget up by $36,000, includes raises for all employees

Budget allocations recommended for approval Wednesday by the finance committee of the St. Mary Parish Council increase 2012 fiscal year spending by just over $36,000.

The general fund in the proposed budget, set to be considered for adoption on Dec. 6, has a beginning fund balance $1.55 million and anticipates $8.6 million in revenue and $9.3 million in expenditures for an ending fund balance of $822,909. It includes a 2.5 percent across the board employee salary increase, according to Chief Administrative Officer Henry “Bo” LaGrange.

Many of the funding requests reviewed by the committee Wednesday were already included in the general fund spending plan.

Recommended approval to receive additional funds were Community Action Agency, in the budget with a $51,500 allocation, to get $3,000 more; Council on Aging, an increase of $10,000 for a total of $40,000; and St. Mary ARC, an additional $5,000 for a total of $10,000.

Also approved was an $18,327 allocation to the Assessor’s Office for purchase of equipment to be taken from the gaming fund made up of contributions from Amelia Belle Casino.

Delayed was an allocation request by the Coroner’s Office for an additional $52,000 a year in salary increases.

“That would be something you would have to fund every year,” said committee chairman Kevin Voisin of Morgan City.

“If we could find the funding for, but if we don’t have the funding for it, we can’t do it,” said at-large Councilman Gary Duhon of Morgan City.

The committee agreed to a suggestion by at-large Councilman Albert Foulcard of Franklin to meet with the coroner to explore funding options.

The committee, made up of members of the whole council, also heard from state Rep. Sam Jones, D-Franklin, who said road construction projects funded by the state just completed or ready to begin total about $10 million. The $4.5 million La. 87 project between Franklin and Centerville is just wrapping up and the $4 million project on La. 317 between U.S. 90 in Centerville and Burns Point will begin in early January. Also completed earlier in the year, he said, was La. 317 between U.S. 90 and La. 182.

He asked the council to consider matching those funds with about $100,000 to fund the repaving of the approaches to the bridge between La. 87 and La. 182 in Centerville. Jones said there’s a possibility that the contractor on the La. 317 project could take on that task with the additional funds.

Recommendations by the committee are subject to approval by the council when it considers adoption of the budget during its Dec. 6 meeting.

In regular session business the council:

—Introduced an ordinance to repeal an 8-ton load limit on LaGrange Robicheaux Road that would allow Winnfield Theriot to park his 18-wheel tractor trailer rig at his residence. The council had heard from his wife, Darlene Theriot, during the Oct. 26 meeting and other residents of the road not in opposition to Theriot parking the rig at his house. But Wednesday, Tommy Ducote expressed opposition, saying that the road is too narrow to maneuver the trailer onto its parking area without causing harm to the road and culverts. A public hearing on the proposed ordinance will be called on Dec. 6 prior to its consideration by the council.

—Adopted an ordinance authorizing execution of documents necessary to acquire any and all rights, title and interests of the Department of Transportation and Development in the roadway encompassing a portion of state route La. 319.

—Passed resolutions authorizing contracts with Acadianè Renovations Ltd. on expansion of the gatehouse project at Kemper Williams Park, and with Morgan City on the Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard construction project.

—Reappointed Harold Driggers, Claude R. Roberts Jr. and Dennis P. Gilmore Jr. to fire Protection District 7.

Councilmen absent were Chuck Walters of Amelia, Logan Fromenthal of Morgan City, Ken Singleton of Patterson and Craig Mathews of Four Corners.

St. Mary Now & Franklin Banner-Tribune

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