City ordinance cleans up the books

By Corey Poole

A motion was passed to add Ordinance No. 23 to the agenda for the City Council meeting May 9. This ordinance amends the City’s 2015-16 budget to reflect additional revenues and expenditures. A state statute requires the City amend its operating budget when there is a 5 percent unfavorable variance.

The budget was amended to reflect the following additional revenues and expenditures:

Fund 001-002 and 311: There were deficits in the General Fund and Utility Fund in the past years and at the end of the year, anything leftover is transferred to the Health Care Fund. This work is being done to clean up the Health Care Fund and reduce shortfalls. Options include increasing premiums, lowering benefits or a combination of the two. The City needs to find a way to cut back its claims or increase its funding through increased premiums. Recommendations will be given in July.

Fund 011: The Natchitoches Fire Department needed a new vehicle.

Fund 012: The expenditures budget was increased for the Sales Tax Police for tools and equipment and building repairs.

Fund 025: As law enforcement takes in funds from drug confiscations they’re allowed to send the money.

Fund 026: Revenues coming in were less than the amount budgeted so the budget was cut by $10,000.

Fund 040: The City reduced the budget for the Events Center Operations Fund because while it had originally projected the revenues, the City has contracted out the management of the Events Center, so the revenues won’t be coming into the City budget.

Fund 062: The revenue in the Animal Shelter Fund dropped by $3,000 so the City reduced its revenue projection. The amount was greater than 5 percent of the original budget.

Fund 064: Grant

Fund 074: Since the tax rededication passed, the City is allowed to spend half of the existing revenue and half of the future revenue on street and sewer projects. The funds were transferred the new Sales Tax Rededication Fund so the City can get started on the work before the end of its fiscal year.

Fund 093: Grant. This generated more money than the City anticipated for it increased the budget.

Fund 114: The City moved $350,000 into the budget a few years ago for a parking lot on the corner of Third and Lafayette streets. The work on this project started this week.

Fund 122: The City had money budgeted for this fund, but the money won’t be in for this fiscal year so the City took the revenue and expenditures out

Fund 131: The City had projected a $5,000 grant, but only received $1,000

Fund 135: The City hadn’t budgeted anything, but it received a $25,000 grant from the National Park Service. This grant didn’t have any stipulations regarding how to spend it. None of this grant money has been spent or committed yet.  Since the building has been weatherized with the previous grant, those funds will stay on deposit in the grant fund and will be rolled over into the new fiscal year until a decision is made regarding the best use of it.

Fund 136, 138 and 147: The state slashed the funding for Capital Outlay Projects for this fiscal year. City Finance Director Pat Jones said that while the projects aren’t being scratched, the City won’t receiving the funding for the current fiscal year and it doesn’t give any hope for project funding in the new fiscal year with the way the state is cutting out as many local projects as it can.

Fund 205: The Natchitoches Fire Department received a new grant that wasn’t budgeted for by the City for tools and equipment needed at the station.

Fund 217: This grant funds overtime for law enforcement.

Fund 312: This fund was projected to run $10,000 above what the City had budgeted.

Fund 314: This fund will cover storm damage repair to City buildings. The City is working to get reimbursement for the repairs through FEMA.

A list of the FEMA expenses are as follows:

  • The City filled over 15,000 sandbags at an expense of over $12,500
  • One Police Car was totaled and two need engine replacement as a result of driving through high waters
  • Three Buildings were damaged including the Roque House, Sibley Lake Boat House and the Carriage House on Cane River Lake
  • Airport ODALS were damaged
  • Had to pump water and make repairs to sewer lift station near University Parkway (under water).