Mayor: Deficit almost gone

Published 8:30 am Friday, November 20, 2015

The city of Bogalusa is projected to recover from its $1.3-million deficit by the end of 2015, some three years earlier than expected, according to Mayor Wendy Perrette.

“We just started collecting property taxes. From what is projected, we should be out of the deficit by the end of this year,” Perrette said.

Perrette said every city department had a hand in the achievement.

“Getting from out under the deficit took the entire administration, from the top to the bottom,” Perrette said. “I’m lucky enough to have a group of people willing to work to fix this problem.

“We gave ourselves 2018 to be out of the deficit. To go black before then, we hope will be a reality. We’ve been able to do that without cutting services. We’ve cut back and trimmed the fat. There are things we’re still working on. We have spent taxpayers’ money wisely. Every department went in on this endeavor.”

The 2015 budget was prepared and submitted at the end of last year. The budget was recently revised to more accurately reflect what the city anticipated the revenues and expenditures might be for 2015 for all city funds.

City officials also revised the beginning fund balances for all funds to agree to the 2014 audit report, as these amounts were not available when the original 2015 budget was prepared.

The General Fund started 2015 with a fund balance of negative $1,353,251.

”If the city’s income and expenditures in the General Fund remain as they are and as forecast in the revised budget, the General Fund will have a 2015 surplus of approximately $1,357,000, and the deficit will be eliminated in the current fiscal year,” City Administrator Stacy Smith said. “This will go a long way toward improving the city’s financial outlook.”

The city has borrowed only $700,000 of the allowed $1.99-million budgetary loan that was approved by the State Bond Commission in March.

“This is the first time in years that the full amount of the loan has not been borrowed,” Smith said. “The loan payment is due in February, and only having to pay back $700,000, rather than $1.99 million, will help the city’s cash flow tremendously.

“The city still has a lot of kinks to work out, but I feel we are on the right path and things can only get better.”