LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - The city of Lake Charles is hoping that the new year brings a new trend, an upward one. Comparing sales tax collections from July through December of 2008, to July through December of 2009, there is a decline of over 7-percent.
"That is a considerable amount of our budget. That equates to about 3.5 million dollars. We had a department head meeting a couple of weeks ago," said John Cardone, Lake Charles City Administrator.
If the decline continues, city departments should be prepared to cut budget by 6-percent.
"Over the next several months we will continue to monitor our sales tax. Hopefully, we will see a little bit of an increase. But if not, we will have to be prepared to make cuts, if necessary," said John Cardone.
If the budget cuts are necessary, it would be a scale-back that would affect many city departments.
Fire, police, and public works, those are the three major ones. They would be impacted considerably. But, we're also asking the smaller departments, such as the finance department, H. R. departments, to look at their budgets. Everyone is going to have to cut within their own department," said John Cardone.
If the city of Lake Charles continues to see a downward decline in sales tax collections, how would this affect city projects, like lake front and downtown development? According to city officials, it should not affect them at all.
"That money is budgeted. That was through the bond issue. We are borrowing that money and we have a mechanism in place to pay that money back. That should not be affected at all.
For now, they watch and wait for the sales, or lack of sales. This will dictate future cuts, from departments that are already working with less.