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.

Crime

Man arrested a 21st time — this time for living in apartment complex’s attic

Local News

Leesville celebrates first female police chief

Local Business News

Community Foundation hires master planning firm

Local Business News

Port of LC seeks reimbursement for hurricane repairs

Local News

Jim Gazzolo column: Cowboys show they can be the bully

Local News

Liz Williams: Desire to help comes from ‘missional heart’

National News

Biden, Manchin and Schumer huddle, but still no budget deal

Local News

Photo Gallery: Trinity Baptist Dodgeball Tournament

Local News

Craig Marks: Past hardships just something God had me go through

Local News

SW La. school lunch menus Oct. 25-29

Crime

10/23: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Local News

Trinity Baptist drawing younger generation with dodgeball tournament

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Where do we go from here?

Local News

Deaf student welding his way to success

Business News

Louisiana float to appear in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Local News

Jeff Davis School Board approves one-time pay supplement

Crime

15-minute deliberation before Vernon man convicted of recruiting prostitutes

Crime

Kinder man convicted in double homicide

Crime

10/22: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff announces arrest list

Local News

More than 500 vehicles expected at Last Resort car show

Local News

SW La. nightlife calendar: Here’s what’s happening

Local News

It’s Spooktacular: Coats for Kids kickoff Oct. 29

Crime

DeRidder man convicted of kidnapping will be resentenced on drug charges

high-school Football

Dragons return home to face Bolton