Mayor touts fiscal progress

Published 1:51 pm Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The City of Bogalusa returned before the Bond Commission on Aug. 12 and received positive feedback from the body.

“The meeting went fabulous. They were happy to see we were following our plan,” Bogalusa Mayor Wendy Perrette said. “The original plan did not have actual numbers because we’re in a catch-up year.”

The City of Bogalusa is in the midst of battling a substantial deficit of a little more than $1 million.

Perrette and city officials last went before the Bond Commission on March 19. The city had support from the Louisiana legislative auditors during the meeting.

“I’m very happy that the legislative auditors came and spoke on our behalf,”

Perrete said. “We volunteered to go back before the Bond Commission because we wanted to show them where we were and where we are now. The meeting was not mandated.”

Perrette said Legislative Auditor Mike Craigin addressed the Commission and spoke highly of the city’s progress toward erasing the $1,353,251 deficit.

“We informed the Bond Commission how we have been working with the Legislative Auditors on a monthly basis regarding audit funding and General Fund deficit,” she said. “I’m also happy that city employees and staff are working hard in order to get back in the black. The city’s financial health is the No. 1 priority for this administration. ”

The city’s financial advisors are bond attorney David Wolfe and CPA Robert Neilson.

“We’re working with everybody to ensure our success,” Perrette said. “Neilson originally told us we would have to layoff 27 employees at the start of the year to see a difference. Now that number is 13. We haven’t had any layoffs. We don’t want any layoffs. We’re cutting costs through attrition and retirement.

Perrette said the goal is to be in the black within three years.

“If we make it in the black within three years, that’s even better,” Perrette said.

Taking a bite out of the deficit will be helped by the 2014 audit results. The report showed the previous administration saved $771,000. The projected savings were $526,000, or $245,000 more than expected. The city currently has a surplus of $600,000, which will go toward the deficit.

Perrette said city officials will again appear before the Bond Commission in the spring.

“This meeting not only made my happy, but made the state happy,” Perrette said. “When we meet with them again, we’ll be asking for a lesser amount. Our intent is to have a more detailed strategic plan and a reduction in the budgetary loan from the past $1.99 million. That is always good.”