The East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority has approved a budget for 2019 that calls for the agency to spend $875,156.
That’s slightly less than the current RDA budget, which is on track for $1.1 million in expenditures.
“We’re in reboot mode for this year,” said Chris Tyson, chief executive officer of the RDA.
The RDA has gained additional responsibilities and support under Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome. The organization is in charge of the Community Development Block Grant funds that had been overseen by the city-parish Office of Community Development.
Those grant revenues brought in $362,727 during 2018. For the 2019 budget, the total is estimated at $75,000.
“We hope we’re being extremely conservative,” Tyson said. “We continue to write and apply for grants.”
The biggest source of funding for the RDA continues to be the $500,000 it receives from Broome’s office. That was the same amount of money the organization received under the current budget.
Tyson said the RDA wants to receive the money in a lump sum at the start of 2019 because the funds are used to cover expenses associated with administering the community development block grant programs. While the RDA is reimbursed by the city-parish for any expenses, Tyson said there’s a lag between when the money is spent and when reimbursement happens. “This will help us manage cash flow,” he said.
The biggest expense for the RDA is salaries and benefits, which is projected to go up from $554,472 in the current budget to $881,865. The organization started 2018 with just two employees: Tyson and Tara Titone, who serves as director. Several employees were used during the year to administer grants and Titone said plans are to hire a couple of more administrators in 2019.
Much of the salary expenses are covered by grant reimbursements. In the current budget, $243,214 covered salaries. That total is projected to go up to $575,595.