The proposed 2020 budget for the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury is $258.5 million, a 5.9 percent jump from $244 million in this year's budget, Parish Administrator Bryan Beam told Budget Committee members on Thursday.
Most of the increase comes from additional spending on capital projects such as roads, drainage and facilities. The $130 million in projected capital spending makes up just over half of the budget.
"This is investments for the future," he said.
The budget, Beam said, also has a modest increase in operational spending from $94.5 million in the current budget, to $99.1 million next year.
The projected $130 million in capital spending for 2020 is a nearly 9 percent increase from the $120.1 million in the current budget. Road and bridge improvements make up $63.1 million. Major road projects that will start or continue next year include extensions of Coach Williams Drive, Ham Reid Road, Johnny Breaux Road and East Carlyss Drive. Seven bridge replacements are set to be done in 2020.
The parish plans to spend $30.3 million on maintaining and improving major facilities. The new Juvenile Justice Services complex should be done by the summer of 2020. Other projects set to begin construction next year are new facilities for Animal Services and the Calcasieu Judicial Complex, along with renovations to the Burton Coliseum Complex.
The nearly 5 percent rise in operational spending from this year's budget to 2020 includes a 5 percent salary increase, along with new personnel in juvenile justice, water/sewer and other departments.
Employees will get a $25 increase per month in their share of health insurance premiums. There is a .75 percent increase to the employer portion of retirement system costs.
Sales taxes make up 26.6 percent of the parish's revenue, with property taxes making up 17.8 percent, Beam said. He said sales tax trends remain strong, but are down from collections in 2017 and 2018. However, the current and projected numbers are higher than those from 10 years ago.
The property tax base is expected to rise by 9.6 percent from 2019 to 2020. Beam said the projected $2.4 billion base includes all assets in the parish: residential, commercial, industrial and utilities.
Revenue from gambling is expected to drop slightly from $33.9 million anticipated this year, to $32.5 million projected in 2020. Those numbers include all of the public agencies that receive gaming funds, which include the Police Jury, Port of Lake Charles, Calcasieu School Board and six municipalities.
"We do believe there will be an uptick after the (Interstate) 210 bridge project is complete," Beam said. "They may be finished by Christmas. We hope so."
Beam said the budget is directly linked to the three-year strategic plan the Police Jury adopted earlier this year. It outlines six priority areas and more than 100 goals. More than 50 strategic plan accomplishments are expected this year, and departmental planning for next year's goals is already ongoing, he said.
The public can comment on the budget through Dec. 19. A public hearing is set for the Dec. 5 Budget Committee meeting. The full Police Jury is expected to formally adopt the 2020 budget at its Dec. 19 meeting.