St. Martinville budget fluid

St. Martinville – The City Council on July 7 adopted a $14 million operating budget and $4.2 million in capital improvement spending for sewerage, water, lights and streets.

"This budget provides the same basic services as in prior years" despite the anticipated loss of revenue from the departing Wal-Mart store, said Mayor Thomas Nelson.

"If you remember when we took office there wasn't a dime," he said.

The city will not have to dip into last year's reserves, primarily because of revenue from an additional penny sales tax approved by voters last year, Nelson said.

The longtime police juror and parish councilman's philosophy is to avoid tying down funds and instead to remain flexible to respond to unseen challenges.

Councilman Craig Prosper voiced concern about how profit from the sale of electricity, was budgeted, saying that the administration had agreed to take less in order to ease the burden on the utility's customers, and Councilman Ronald Charles also had questions left unstated. The council, however, agreed to adopt the budget and then deal with any questions after the fact.

"Nothing in a budget is in concrete," he said.

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