Due to shortfall parish may have to cut budget next year
Without a tax increase, St. Charles Parish Council could be dealing with a projected $550,000 budget shortfall next year.
Parish officials blame plummeting oil prices for cutting into a major source of funding called the inventory tax, which is assessed based on the value of goods stored in the parish. A major part of this inventory is oil.
Chief Financial Officer Grant Dussom said a 2 percent decline in tax revenue is expected next year if the council maintains its current 29.68 mills rate, which will generate $33.9 million this year.
Taxes will rise, but the parish won’t get additional tax revenue, Dussom said.
“That is $550,000 less than we’d have to put in our budgets and that would mean cuts to those various departments because that’s less funding than was coming in last year,” Dussom said.
The council also has the option to increase the property taxes to maintain last year’s level of funding, which will be considered at a special meeting scheduled at 6 p.m. Aug. 15 at the council meeting at the St. Charles Parish Courthouse.
Dussom said a resolution to increase the rate to 30.16 mills to cover the shortfall is on the meeting agenda.
These millages generate revenue for the general fund, levees, road lighting, libraries, road maintenance, recreation, mosquito control, the Council on Aging, fire protection, E-911 Emergency System, Health Unit, Arc of St. Charles, wastewater facilities and sewer bonds.
“We’d typically roll back the taxes to collect the same amount as the year prior,” he said. “But this year the taxes will rise and the parish will still collect the same revenue.”
Declining values is “one of the things that really never happens,” he said. But it happened in St. Charles Parish and lower oil prices drove the drop.
Inventory tax revenue represents 21 percent of the parish tax collections, down from 23 percent last year.