Parish president proposes $101M budget for 2018

Includes a pavilion for South Fashion, Rathborne Park Phase II

Saying the administration has been kept on a path of “sustainability,” Parish President Larry Cochran has proposed a $101 million budget for 2018.

The budget includes a 4.3 percent increase in personnel spending, which Cochran said mostly calls for a cost of

It also includes special requests including a $150,000 pavilion for South Fashion; Rathborne Park Phase II (lighting for the walking path and to cover two stands) at $100,000, and $60,000 for new restrooms at South Fashion Park.

Overall, the budget calls for $76.8 million in projected revenue and $101 million in expenditures.

Cochran said use of the “accumulated fund balance from previous years” and anticipated growth in sales tax revenue will cover the difference.

“Several major projects have been announced by our local industries that are expected to result in considerable sales tax revenue increases in the budgets of 2018 and 2019 [that] will allow this administration to increase fund balance in future years,” he said.

According to Cochran, “My administration focused on putting all parish funds and departments on a sustainable fiscal path capable of maintaining the infrastructure we have, upgrading and improving our wastewater networking, constructing a complete flood protection system, and reducing the pressure on the general fund so that other services such as recreation, emergency preparedness and support services delivered by RSVP and the Department of Community Services can continue.”

2018 also will bring a projected 2.8 percent drop in property tax revenue, which he attributed to rolling back nine of the parish’s 14 millages representing $570,000 in savings to residents. Property tax collections are expected to make up 43 percent of the parish’s revenue.

“One of my main goals when taking office was to show that the parish government can do more with less,” Cochran said. “And, by lowering these millages, I strongly believe that this is one step in the right direction in order to accomplish that goal.”

In funds, the biggest source of revenue is sales tax, which Cochran said is projected to rise by 4.53 percent to $33.4 million next year. This year’s anticipated total is $31.9 million. Additional revenue is projected with $11.5 million in federal funds and another $5 million in other taxes, fees and collections.

Because of the volatility of sales tax revenue and uncertainty of the national economy, Cochran said this revenue is being dedicated to one-time capital projects.

They will include operating subsidies of $185,000 for RSVP and nearly $60,000 for solid waste.

Cochran said he wants to keep the 2018 general fund at minimum $7 million in case of loss of the inventory tax or possibility of a devastating hurricane.


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