Sulphur's 1.3 million dollar deficit

City of Sulphur's Mayor Chris Duncan proposed that the 2011-2012 city budget will have a deficit of 1.3 million dollars. This deficit is all part of the general fund.

However, Duncan adds that his office plans on tightening their belt and going through line by line of the balance sheet to cut costs wherever possible. Residents of Sulphur will not be feeling the pinch in any way that would cut into their daily routines.

Some who believe that the increase in their monthly water bill will help out the deficit would be wrong in their thinking.  Kevin Alley, Director of Finance for the City of Sulphur says, "The water company is its own separate fund. We can count the water company as a separate entity all by itself. It keeps its own set of books."

History is one cause of the shortfall. After Hurricane Rita hit, revenue from sales tax spiked.  People were buying big appliances, cars, etc... Now, with the economy, sales tax has dropped off thereby decreasing revenue.

One City of Sulphur document also states that there were significant increases that added to the deficit:

"Municipal Employee's Retirement System (16.75%), Firefighter's Retirement System (25.25%), and Municipal Police Employee's Retirement System (28%)."

"...the City is self-insured on Worker's Compensation Insurance. Since 2007, no funding was required and the line item for this indicated zero ($0) dollars budgeted... This year, Worker's Compensation in each dept. reflects an amount sufficient to cover each department's share of the yearly contribution, which is expected to be $365,000."

"23% increase in employee health insurance premiums for the policy period beginning April 1, 2011".