By Times Staff
Parish president John Richmond told the Agitators Club Wednesday that the parish government will end his first year in office with enough money to pay the January and February bills, which is needed before 2020 tax revenues come in March. Richmond said when he first came in office he heard the total parish budget was $23-25 million a year, but he has found that in reality, without double-dipping and other accounting maneuvers, the actual budget is about $15-17 million a year.
This is for all the areas in the home rule charter such as the road system, community service and courthouse maintenance. He said there is no money in the tax base to pave the roads, which are horrible, but until he knows what is going to be needed he is not going to ask for a dime. However, the parish did put 30 percent more material on the rural roads than in past years.
The parish is doing all it can with the money it has because without an adequate road system a legitimate economic base can’t be developed that will provide for real jobs. The budget has no contingency fund, but he said the parish will have the money to pay its 25 percent share of the hurricane clean up cost of Hurricanes Laura and Delta that is anticipated to be about $1.5 million.
The majority of the clean up money will come from FEMA, but the federal government’s share will take two to four years to get here and at that time it will go back into the roads.