Recreation, streets are top Berwick priorities

BERWICK, La.-- Recreation and street budgets make up the bulk of the spending in the $4.17 million budget Berwick leaders approved Tuesday night.

Street work makes up 10 percent of general expenditures and 24.45 percent of the capital outlay spending. Mayor Louis Ratcliff said $100,000 is dedicated to the overlay of Pattie Drive from La. 182 to Fairview Drive. The town is seeking additional bids on the work, so no start date has been decided, the mayor said.

Also, two connected walking trails are included in capital outlay funds at $160,000 which is set to be reimbursed by a federal grant funneled through state department of culture, recreation and tourism, Ratcliff said.

The trail starts at Pharr Park on Gilmore Drive, goes down to Fairview, up Fairview, onto the levee for about a half mile, then back down Fairview, he said. Additionally, two more grants are anticipated that will pick up where that trail leaves off and tie it into Renwick Subdivision’s sidewalks.

Other expenditures in the streets department, the mayor said, include a new tractor at a cost of $67,000 that replaces one that’s 30 to 40 years old and additions to the town’s maintenance shed at a cost of $25,000 to make it larger.

In the recreation department, the purchase of playground equipment is budgeted at $40,000, while the overlay of the walking trail behind the Berwick Civic Complex also is anticipated. The mayor added that replacement of the roof at the civic complex is budgeted at $90,000.

Recreation is 7.6 percent of the general budget and 44.35 percent of the capital outlay budget.

Other general expenditures include:

—General government at $965,579 or 23.17 percent of total expenditures minus capital outlay.

—Police department, $911,933 for 21.88 percent.

—Fire department, $145,551 for 3.49 percent.

—Drainage, $166,536 for 3.99 percent.

—Cemetery maintenance, $32,000 for 0.8 percent.

—Berwick Development District, $25,000 for 0.6 percent.

—Liquid and solid waste, $1.2 million for 28.3 percent.

Total general budget expenditures are $4.17 million, while capital outlay spending is set to be $856,291, or 17 percent of total spending — $5.02 million including capital outlay — for the year.

Total revenues for fiscal year 2013-14 are anticipated to be $5.2 million for the year, down from $5.77 million the previous year. Of that total, 51.3 percent or $2.67 million is anticipated to come from taxes.

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