Last Modified: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 12:12 PM
Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach’s administration is gearing up for another year of closely watching how every nickel and dime is spent.
The administration is proposing a budget for the 2012-2013 fiscal year that will include a $2.5 million deficit.
As with past years, the city’s biggest expense will be personnel and benefit packages.
“Our primary business is providing services. You do that with employees,” Roach said.
City Council members will decide if they want to approve the new budget Tuesday during a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. inside the Central School Arts and Humanities Center at 809 Kirby St. The meeting is open to the public.
The new fiscal year will begin Oct. 1 and end Sept. 30, 2013.
City officials projected a $2.9 million deficit for the 2011-2012 budget. It is expected that the deficit will end up being $1.3 million.
According to the Roach administration, that deficit will be paid with funds taken out of the city’s general fund balance. Once the deficit is paid off, the city will have $21.4 million in the general fund reserves.
City officials have planned for a $61.6 million budget with $59.2 million in expenses.
“The fire (23.7 percent) and police departments (29.8 percent) account for more than half of the city’s operating expenditures (53 percent). When you add expenditures for the public works department (26.1 percent), those three areas of operations account for 80 percent of the general fund operating expenses,” city finance officials wrote in a letter explaining the budget.
Roach said benefits for employees continue to affect the budget.
City retirement contributions to the Municipal Police Employee Retirement System increased from 26.5 percent in 2011 to 31 percent this year.
“The 1.2 million that was paid in fiscal year 2010 has doubled to a proposed $2.4 million in fiscal year 2013,” the letter states.
Rates for the Firefighter’s Retirement System increased from 23.25 percent in 2011 to 24 percent this year.
Overall, salaries account for 41 percent of the city’s expenses in the new budget.
An increase in sales taxes — which account for 61.5 percent of revenues — is being projected in the budget.
“Proposed revenues for fiscal year 2013 of $35.3 million (sales taxes) represent a 3.4 percent increase over projected fiscal year 2012 collections,” according to the letter. “Although revenues are projected and proposed to increase in the current and next fiscal years, it has taken us several years to get back to where collections were in fiscal years 2008 and 2009.”
The administration is “cautiously optimistic” with its revenue estimates.
Overall, the city projects $57.3 million in operating revenues to be generated.