The West Feliciana Parish Council approved a nearly $9 million budget for the parish for the 2016-17 fiscal year in a special meeting on May 26.

The budget projects basically flat revenue of $9.342 million to the parish for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

Expenditures are projected to be slightly less than the previous year at $8.955 million, producing an anticipated overall net revenue of $387,930.

“It’s a little bit less than last year,” said Parish President Kevin Couhig. “It’s because of declining tax revenue.”

The council approved a number of specific capital outlay requests.

The budget calls for three specific requests from the general fund including $1.187 million for the purchase of the former TEMBEC property for the industrial park, located in the southern part of the parish along La. 964 between U.S. 61 and the Mississippi River.

Also, $350,000 is included for the consolidation of the Solitude-Turner sewer systems and $70,000 for information technology manager Tim Hebert to continue to develop an infrastructure assessment to bring high-speed internet access to every parish residence. Hebert and Bob Merola, of Alorem Networks, briefed the council on their efforts so far, and expect to have a better idea for a design for the network in about a month.

From the roads and bridges budget, the council approved completion of work on a new bridge on Island Road from the previous budget, the buyout of an excavator ($60,000), portable scales ($20,000) and $75,000 for a road engineering study to examine the interior foundations of the parish’s roads. After that study, a priority list will be developed for future road repair work based on usage and safety, Couhig said.

Two projects from the health services budget were approved: the completion of the renovation project of the social services building in the former grocery store building on La. 10 ($300,000), plus an additional $165,000 to complete the renovation.

The old courthouse will receive funding for two projects from the building and grounds budget, including $50,000 to wash and paint the building and $200,000 for replacement windows.

Finally, the budget includes $36,971 for an electrical well panel and $75,000 for a water system engineering study from the Consolidated Water budget. Couhig said the project will increase efficiency and lower costs.

Two members of the audience spoke on behalf of the Tourism Commission, which had its dedicated allocation from the economic development budget removed this year by the Economic Development Board. The Tourism Commission will have to make formal requests to the board for specific projects and will compete with other parish entities for funding from a pool of about $115,000.