City revenue, spending on budget at mid-point

The City of Eunice was dead-on its overall mid-year budget target, despite lagging gas sales and unexpected hurricane expenses.

The Dec. 30 statement of operations shows the city in the first six months of its current fiscal year had received $10,000 more than it had spent. Revenues totaled $7,027,000 and expenses were $7,017,000.

Compared to last year the city had received about $430,000 less and had spent about $48,000 less despite more than $200,000 in hurricane recovery costs.

The budget adopted in June anticipates lower revenue, as a result of a slowing economy and because a one-time grant for use at the airport does not recur.

City officials balanced the budget forecast by using money accumulated in previous years, a policy the Legislative Auditor’s Office confirmed falls within proper municipal budgeting.

The City Council in July delayed consideration of an overall pay plan increase until that determination could be made, but has not returned to debate on any of the pay proposals.

Payroll, and related benefit expenses, are a major municipal expense. For the first six months of the fiscal year, managers had wage and salary costs for the most part within budget.

The exception was the Fire Department, where changes as the result of settlement of litigation impacted payroll. Through December, the department had spent $203,200 on pay. That’s $40,700 over budget, and is $21,000 over the same period last fiscal year.

General Fund wages were at $146,000, same as last year.

Within the General Fund, City Court salary expense was $72,300, about $25,000 over budget and about $24,000 higher than the first six months last year.

Police wages were $489,600, only $400 under last year.

Street workers, who received a raise in September in the wake of Hurricane Gustav, had been paid $130,500, about $8,000 lower than the same period a year earlier.

The Recreation payroll was $40,600. about $4,000 over budget for the period and $20,000 higher than last year’s first six moths.

Within the General Fund, City Court salary expense was $72,300, about $25,000 over budget.

Gas Department wage expense was about the same as last year, at $104,400; wastewater wage costs were $91,300, about $6,000 higher and Liberty Theatre salary expense had dropped $900 to $10,700.

General Fund revenue was $2.84 million, $10,500 under the six months expectation, and $90,000 under a year earlier. General Fund expenses total $2.91 million, $59,000 over budget and $300,000 under last year.

Sales tax revenue for six months was $2.42 million, about $51,000 over budget, and about $40,000 less than the same time frame last year, after the airport grant is deducted.

Sales Tax Fund expenses were $2.14 million. That’s about $347,000 under first-half budget as the city had several capital outlay projects on the boards for which money was not yet spent.

Expenses were $2.48 million in the same period last year. About $1.2 million of the Sales Tax Fund expense was to the General Fund, where it helps finance day-to-day operations.

Utility Fund revenue of $1.73 million was about $292,000 under budget, as natural gas sales ($320,000 under budget) dipped due to the absence of severe weather in November and December. That revenue was about $30,000 higher though than last year’s first six months.

Utility Fund expenses were $1.93 million, under budget by $81,000 (almost all of it in gas purchases). That compares to $1.91 million last year .

Liberty Theatre revenue was $37,000. That was $2,000 under budget, but $10,000 ahead of last year.

Liberty expenses were $37,000, about $3,700 over budget, and about $1,700 higher than last year at the same point.

Total first-half expenses of $7,017,000 compare to $7,065,300 last year.

Within the departments, a familiar nemesis persists. Jail & prisoner expense through six months was $95,000, about $32,500 over budget for six months. Through six months last year, the total was $77,000.

Six-months expenses totals by department:

General Fund: $805,600, $37,700 under six-months budget, down $40,000 to last year;

Police: $1.11 million, $48,000 over six-months budtet, up $60,000 to last year;

Sanitation: $7,800, $4,300 under six-months budget, up $400 to last year;

Fire: $443,500, $30,000 over six-months budget, up $22,000 to last year;

Street: $409,500, $30,400 over six-months budget, up $111,400 ($101,000 in Gustave costs) to last year;

Recreation: $132,400, $52,300 under six-months budget, up $22,500 to last year;

Sales Tax: $2.14 million, $347,000 under six-months budget, down $340,000 to last year;

Utility: $452,200, $86,000 over six-months budget, up $34,000 to last year;

Gas: $946,600, $142,800 under six-months budget, down $4,000 to last eyar;

Sewerage: $540,500, $25,000 under six-months budget, up $7,800 to last year;

Liberty: $37,200, $3,800 over six-months budget, up $1,900 to last year.

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