A good piece of advice is to expect the best, but prepare for the worst. This is what the Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission (NHDDC) discussed at its meeting May 18.
Arlene Gould, director of the Natchitoches Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (NACVB) informed the Commission that House Bill 613, which would cut $50 million from Louisiana’s Visitor Enterprise Funding, was withdrawn by its author.
This is reassuring considering that if the bill was passed, the NHDDC would have 100 percent of its budget cut and the NACVB would lose 20 percent of its own. However, Gould advised Commission members that neither organization will be completely safe until the current session ends in June.
There is also Senate Bill 226, which proposes eliminating funds and sales and use tax dedications to local entities and their related funds. While this would only be an estimated 15 percent hit to the NHDDC and NACVB budgets respectively, Commission member David Stamey said they need to prepare.
The NHDDC usually starts its budget preparation months in advance, but with how uncertain things are currently, it’s been hard for them. A proposed budget will be sent out before the June meeting when the Commission will vote on it.
For safety’s sake Stamey recommended they plan on having only 85 percent of their usual $360,000 annual budget.
“It’s important that we’re being proactive in this,” said Vanner Erikson, NHDDC chairman. “We need to really look at what we fund and what we do.”
Stamey agreed saying they’ll probably need to revamp the budget in the way the Commission funds things. While some things are considered untouchable, there are other items that could possibly be eliminated or cut back on.