DONALDSONVILLE — The City Council has begun to tackle a proposed 2014-15 operating budget that could see the city finish slightly in the black.
During the council’s regular meeting on May 13, the council got its first look at the fiscal plan, which projects revenues of $7.729 million and expenditures of about $7.7 million.
City Finance Director Sandra Williams said there were few changes in the suggested plan from the city’s current budget.
The proposed budget calls for an estimated $2.45 million in total sales tax revenues and $385,000 in public utilities collections.
Financing the city’s fire protection shows to be its largest estimated expense, coming in at $859,700.
Council Chairman Raymond Aucoin expressed concern that the recent expiration of a sales tax agreement between the city, Ascension Parish government and the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office could lead to possible budget changes.
The agreement involved collections on a 750-acre tract of annexed land along La. 3089 that houses a key commercial center.
According to the agreement terms, only a 9 percent city sales tax was collected in the area, up until a benchmark of $1.75 million in total collections was met. Then, parish government and the Sheriff’s Office would begin to share in the collection revenues.
When the agreement lapsed April 1, businesses within the commercial area — including a Wal-Mart Supercenter, Wendy’s, Aaron’s and Walgreens, among others — began charging a total of 11 cents on the dollar in sales taxes.
Williams said that to address the concern, the projected sales tax revenue figure is the same as the current year’s budgeted amount.
Proposed amendments to the current operating budget project the city to finish with an additional $31,000 in general fund revenues, Williams said.
The council met Monday as a committee of the whole to begin addressing the budget. It is set to introduce the new plan at its meeting Tuesday, with a public hearing and vote set for its June 10 meeting.
In related news, the council also adopted a resolution to work with Ascension Parish government to rectify the aforementioned sales tax situation.
Chamber President Paul Landry IV asked the council to adopt the measure, which asks the city to work to renew the previous contract.
“If we could get it back to what it was before, the businesses would appreciate that,” Landry said.
Mayor Leroy Sullivan Sr. said the city’s position has been to renew the original agreement.