City sees increase in general fund revenues

The city of Lake Charles finished fiscal year 2017 on a high note with an increase of $5.7 million in general fund revenues and no audit findings to report, auditors told the City Council on Tuesday.

Most of the increase in revenue came from sales tax collections, which totaled nearly $50 million, the report showed. The city also spent more money over the year, with general fund operating expenditures rising 7 percent.

A chunk of the cost increase came from salaries, up 5 percent, or $1.2 million, as a result of pay raises and new hires, said City Finance Director Karen Harrell. 

She said the city has struggled to recruit and retain employees but that wage raises over the past several years have helped fill some of those vacant positions.

The city finished the year with $35 million in its general fund — what Harrell called “really good, solid condition.”

“I feel that we run a pretty efficient ship around here and that we do make wise use of our funds,” she said.

She said the city anticipated finishing the year with more funds than budgeted so it authorized $4 million to be transferred into the 2018 budget. 

Preparing for the audit is a “big task,” she said, especially with changes that took effect in 2017 requiring auditors to complete certain statewide agreed-upon procedures — AUPs — on top of their regular work.

Harrell said the city will now direct its focus on preparing next year’s budget. Mayor Nic Hunter, who took office in July, has had “new ideas for saving money, as well as some innovative ideas for possible new revenue,” she said, and she looks forward to working with him and the council. 

Speaking for auditing firm McElroy, Quirk and Burch, Jason Guillory said the city does “a fantastic job” keeping its finances in order and thanked Harrell and her staff for their cooperation.

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:GOP critics become experts

Local News

‘The Brutality of War’: Written over a decade ago, Gene Dark’s memoir about his time in Vietnam is still a compelling read

Local News

‘Celebration Gator’ alerts nation Louisiana is back

Local News

FAITH & FAMILY: House fire brought him closer to God

Local News

Jennings in process of amping up Christmas lights

Crime

Beauregard man charged in father’s death

Local News

Overnight work on underground utilities starts next week

Local Business News

Carheel working to give people opportunity, skills for employment

Local News

Volunteers rewire, restring, restore Founders Park light display

Local News

Historic City Hall exhibits open for Thanksgiving weekend

Local News

Photo Gallery: Community celebrates Thanksgiving

Local News

Nicole Doucet treasures feedback from students — past and present

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Some earlier Thanksgivings

Local News

Kinder’s Julia Claire Williams preps for Miss America pageant

Local News

Holiday Art Walk: Find unique treasures at Downtown open-air shopping event

Local News

Thunderstorms expected on Thanksgiving Day

Local News

LC police investigating fatal crash that also left three hospitalized

Crime

Shots fired at Jennings home

Crime

JDSO: Shots fired at Jennings home

Local News

Leesville receives best audit in more than a decade

Business

Care Help of Sulphur receives $25,000 grant

Business

LNG export heavyweights: Cameron Parish has become a major world player

Business

Mark Judson guest column: Talk is cheap, unless it’s ‘law talk’

Business

Names in the News: People shaping the future of Lake Area business