Denham Springs Council adopts budget for 2013-14

The Denham Springs City Council adopted an operating budget for 2013-14 that assumes no increase in sales tax revenues and strikes employee cost-of-living raises for the fifth straight year.

The $22.2 million consolidated operating budget approved during Monday’s council meeting comprises primarily the city’s $10.5 million general fund and $10.5 million utility fund.

Sales tax collections are projected to remain steady in the general fund at $6.9 million, forming the bulk of the city’s $8.2 million in tax revenues.

The projection does not include sales tax collections expected to begin in the second half of the fiscal year after several new stores are slated to open, Mayor Jimmy Durbin said.

“Since we don’t have those stores open, we can’t approximate the revenue off of them,” Durbin said.

Other revenues include $980,000 in licenses and permits, $673,000 in fines and forfeits and $504,000 in grants and other intergovernmental funds.

Expenditures are projected to decrease 1.1 percent to $10.4 million, leaving $144,515 in general fund net revenue.

In the utility fund, revenues are projected to increase by $585,000 to $10.5 million, due primarily to an extra $180,000 in natural gas usage charges and $422,000 in water usage charges.

City officials anticipate utility fund operating expenses of $6.2 million, for an increase of 4.8 percent over 2012-13 due to rising retirement contribution rates and health insurance premiums.

Depreciation expenses account for another $2.9 million, leaving $2.1 million in utility fund net revenue before any bond payments are made.

Other business coming before the council included:

HEALTH INSURANCE: The council voted to renew the city’s group health insurance policy with Blue Cross Blue Shield, with two modifications. Deductibles will cost an additional $500 per individual and $1,500 per family, and prescriptions will now carry a $100 deductible.

Under the renewed contract, premiums will increase 16 percent from $417.80 to $486.12 per employee per month, based on the city’s claims history over the past year, Durbin said.

Employee-only coverage will continue to be at no cost to the employee, while carrying an additional family member will cost the employee $22 more per month and family plans will cost $42 more per month than the 2012-13 rates.