CONVENT — Parish President Dale Hymel Jr. submitted a $64 million budget for fiscal year 2012 to the St. James Parish Council.
In turning over his administration’s final annual budget, Hymel told the council Wednesday night he took pride in leaving the parish in better financial shape than when he started working for parish government more than 20 years ago.
Hymel, who served as parish finance director for two years before he became parish president, said that during the past two decades, parish millage rates decreased by 7.6 mills, translating into an annual $76 savings on a $175,000 residence with homestead exemption.
The parish sales tax has remained unchanged at 1 percent, he said, while the parish’s fund balance increased from $10.5 million on Dec. 31,1991, to $41.8 million on Dec. 31, 2010.
Hymel has said he did not seek re-election to the parish presidency in order to spend more time with his family.
St. James President-elect Timmy Roussel, a former council member, will take over from Hymel early next year.
Projected total revenues for the 2012 budget are forecast to reach $61 million, with operating revenues increasing more than $11.7 million compared to the previous year, Hymel said.
Fueling the projected revenue increase, Hymel said, is the $1.2 billion “industrial construction boom” involving Nucor Corp., Petroplex International and NuStar Logistics.
Counting revenue from these major construction projects, property tax revenues are expected to increase $238,500 in 2012 to $13.5 million and sales tax revenues are expected to increase $316,900 to $7.1 million, Hymel said.
The parish budget calls for a 28 percent spending increase next fiscal year to $60.4 million due to the planned construction projects and hiring of additional parish employees, including a fire service administrator, officials said.
Public hearings on the annual budget adoption ordinance will be held by the council Nov. 16 in Vacherie and Dec. 7 in Convent. Both public hearings are scheduled to start at 6:15 p.m.