LC council adopts budget

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Lake Charles City Council met in special session tonight to adopt the city budget for the upcoming fiscal year . The spending plan shows city officials are doing what they can to keep a lid on spending in this uncertain economy.

Fire, police, public works are some of the essential city services provided for in the city budget. The council met to approve the 61.8 million dollar spending plan for operating the city for the coming fiscal year.

With the economy as it is, they can't count on much growth in sales tax revenues, so they're trying to do without much of an increase in expenditures as Mayor Randy Roach explains. "We're being very conservative with the amount of revenue that we are projecting for next year, about a one and a half per cent increase in revenue. About 65% of our revenue comes from sales taxes. So we're very careful to base our estimates on what we think the economy is going to do. We think the economy here is going to stabilize but we don't think the economy here is going to experience a lot of growth over the next year that's going to be reflected in an increase in sales taxes."

In addition to the operating expenses the budget provides for a 17 million dollar capital improvement program for various streets, drainage, water and sewer projects. Explains Roach, "That represents primarily the standard items that we have relative to capital improvements to roads, capital improvements with respect to the recreation department, our parks improvement program."

And the city is moving ahead with the next phase of the $90 million dollar bond issue approved by voters in November 2006. "Hopefully (we) will be able to go out and contract for Enterprise Boulevard construction right after the first of the year, looking at Lake Street, being able to go out for bids on that project by the end of this year."

The city's fiscal year starts October 1. The budget includes an annual pay increase of two per cent for all employees.

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