CLINTON — The East Feliciana Parish Police Jury adopted a $7.6 million budget Monday for 2013 that conservatively estimates revenues and anticipates spending to remain nearly the same as this year, the jury’s financial adviser said.
“I tried to be conservative on revenues, and we’ll pay close attention to spending in the coming year to stay within the available money, said certified public accountant Phil Graham, who prepared the budget proposal.
The budget anticipates revenues in all funds to total $7.16 million and all expenditures to total $7.6 million, but Graham said he considers it incorrect to say the spending plan is a “deficit budget” because the jury has reserve funds available to cover operating deficits.
The general fund includes a transfer of $350,000 from the health unit fund, but the general fund will transfer the same amount to the road and bridge fund, he said.
The road and bridge fund has a $675,424 “deficit” because jurors borrowed money from the garbage collection fund about eight years ago for an extensive road overlay program. Since then, the road fund has been paying down on the debt, Graham said.
Part of the $350,000 transfer from the general fund will be used for road improvements and part of it to whittle down the debt by about $52,000, Graham added.
Jurors also agreed to accept a new price of $35,740 for repairs to a condemned bridge on John Thomas Lane after Parish Manager Glen Kent said the contractor found that the bridge is 12 feet longer than jury officials thought. Six feet of the bridge on both ends is concealed under 16 inches of gravel, Kent said.
The original price was $28,592, he said.
Kent also reported that the jury has been maintaining a series of cattle gaps on Kinnon Lane, but in doing so, may be violating its own ordinance against allowing livestock to run loose on parish roads. Cattle gaps are metal grates designed to let a car pass through certain areas but not wandering livestock.
Kent said more research is needed to determine why the cattle gaps were installed and maintained and whether the jury has inadvertently created an area of open cattle range, which once was common in many rural parishes.
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