City rolls out ‘Citizen’s Budget’ at Town Hall meeting

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 Mayor Ronnie Williams Jr. and the City Council hosted a town hall meeting at the Natchitoches Events Center May 4 to explain the “citizen’s budget” for June 1, 2021, to May 31, 2022, that he said he hopes will be friendly to lay people. Director of Finance Debbie Miley presented the information that is contained in a pamphlet available at City Hall. The pamphlet was produced by Hannah Wenninger.

This article published in the May 8-9, 2021, print edition

The general fund for next year will be approximately 8 percent less than the current budget because of declining utility revenue this year caused by two hurricanes, two snow storms and COVID-19 closing schools and many businesses.

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The main funds for next year’s budget are: General Fund: $18,484,000 Utility Fund: $35,858,391 Special Funds: $15,351,025 Total Operating Budget: $69,694,016

The General Fund revenue sources include taxes, licenses and permits, intergovernmental revenues, fees, charges, commissions and transfers from other funds. The General Fund expenses include City Hall and Finance departments, Community Development, Planning and Zoning, fire, police, animal shelter, purchasing, City garage, recreation, public works, indirect expense, programs and promotions.

The Utility Department revenue comes from sales of water, electric, sewer and other revenue. The Utility Department has costs for water, electric, sewer, utility administration, service center, information technology and indirect expense. Indirect expenses can be a number of varied expenses such as seasonal wages, travel and supplies.

A special revenue fund is established to finance and operate dedicated smaller-scale projects. Parks, libraries and recreation projects may all be financed by special revenue funds. Examples are grants, Parc Natchitoches, Tiff dollars and the garbage contract.