Mayor says finances looking up

Published 8:40 am Monday, May 11, 2015

Bogalusa Mayor Wendy Perrette said the city’s financial health is being restored little by little.

Perrette admitted the city has a way to go before it stands on solid ground, but she said she is able to see improvement.

“At the beginning of 2014, we had a $2.1 million deficit. The last administration reduced that deficit by approximately $540,000,” Perrette said. “That left me in 2015 with a deficit of $1.6 million. We had $2.4 million in expenditures in the General Fund last year.”

Perrette said numbers for 2015 look promising.

“This year, we’ve spent $2 million in expenditures through March of the first quarter,” Perrette said. “We’re up in revenues by $385,594. Approximately $200,000 of that is due to sales tax revenues. This doesn’t mean we can start spending, not until we have a positive fund balance. We’ve made up some of our reserves. The auditors are after us on those reserve accounts.”

State Sen. Ben Nevers, Perrette and other city officials appeared before the State Bond Commission in March to discuss the city’s deficit. The city was granted a $1.99 million credit but given strict guidelines by the body. It was the seventh straight year Bogalusa appeared before the Commission.

“Since we were granted a $1.99 million credit by the Bond Commission, another good thing is that we’ve borrowed only $700,000 of that $1.99 million,” Perrette said. “We’re going to continue to save, and we’re cutting costs every way we can in order to maintain ourselves and not have to borrow any more money. We are on the right track. In the three months since we’ve been in office, we’ve spent less compared to March of last year.”

One of the recent cost-saving measures came when the city eliminated the popular Main Street Program. Perrette said the city will save approximately $85,000 per year, including salary, health benefits, rent, utilities, travel, per diem pay and dues to the state and national Main Street Program.

Perrette has repeatedly said more cuts are expected.

“We will continue to make some cuts around here,” Perrette said. “We have to do these things or let the state take over. We are down to bare necessities, not luxuries.”

Perrette said she was excited at the early results from the cutbacks. The city appears before the Bond Commission in July.

“We were really excited to see the first three months come in. We’re going to continue this trend in this administration. Restoring the city’s financial health is imperative to this administration,” Perrette said.