LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Calcasieu police jurors are expected to adopt their largest spending plan ever when they sit down Thursday night to approve and adopt the 2018 budget.
It's in large part due to the area's booming economy. When the economy is good, revenues increase for local government. And that's the comfortable place Calcasieu Parish Police Jurors enjoy right now.
The 2018 budget is $233,486,097.
Administrator Bryan Beam says it reflects growth in the parish.
"It's a bigger spending plan, but it reflects Southwest Louisiana, and Calcasieu in particular, as a much more diverse and complex area that needs to make sure its public services are delivered well," said Beam.
Beam says the size of the budget includes non-recurring capital projects in the works - including juvenile justice facilities, coroner's office, animal services and family and juvenile court, plus roads, bridges and more dollars dedicated to drainage:
"The big, big difference in 2018 from this year's budget is the amount of new money in drainage projects which is probably the big issue throughout the parish. So you see an increase of about $17 million dollars in drainage projects compared to this year and that's going to actually continue in future years," said Beam.
He says growing sales tax revenues allow projects to be done "pay as you go," rather than having to be financed.
The parish's operating budget increased a modest 1.9 percent and includes pay raises to help the parish keep high-quality employees.
"Some of those we were competitive and others we needed to bring up. For example, the new rates for laborers are actually going to be upwards of about $10.85 an hour, and that is up from about $9.35 an hour. So, we're having to do that to keep up and get employees. It's a tough, competitive environment for good employees right now. We needed to up our game there and we have," said Beam.
Beam says they will continue to maintain a reserve be prepared for unexpected expenses caused by hurricanes or other emergencies.
The jury meets to approve and adopt the budget at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Calcasieu Government Building.