Iberville Parish Council approves 2014 budget

“The state of the budget ... is that sales tax collections are up. We had one month with a large settlement and we put that money into the capital improvement fund and dedicated that money for some water improvements in Water District No. 3.” Randall W. Dunn, Iberville Parish finance director

Economic growth in 2013 should be followed by another year of sales tax revenue growth in 2014, the Iberville Parish Council was told before it gave unanimous approval to its $41.2 million 2014 budget Tuesday night.

Finance Director Randall W. Dunn reported the parish’s economy saw some growth in 2013 and he expects sales tax revenue to increase in 2014 before it tapers off in 2015.

The new budget goes into effect on Jan. 1.

“The state of the budget ... is that sales tax collections are up,” Dunn said. “We had one month with a large settlement and we put that money into the capital improvement fund and dedicated that money for some water improvements in Water District No. 3.”

The water quality is good in that district, Dunn assured the council, but they will spend about $1.6 million to improve the treatment plant. Other large capital budget items include $800,000 for road improvements and $200,000 for improvements to the Civic Center. The operating budget is $27 million.

Another large portion of the capital budget, $12 million, is allocated for the Ochsner Health Care Clinic being built south of Plaquemine. If all goes according to plans, the facility is expected to be completed in July 2015, according to the budget report.

“Iberville Parish is doing very well and we’re very conservative with the money and we watch our dollars very closely,” Parish Council Chairman Matt Jewell said following the short meeting. “We’re working hard to attract new industry to our parish so that keeps our tax base up and so we don’t have to cut (the budget).”

Parish President J. Mitchell Ourso Jr. reported that he had heard from FEMA regarding the parish’s recent approval of the newly revised floodplain map, “so now the parish is able to participate in the NFIP floodplain program.”

In other business, the council set for a public hearing at the next meeting, Dec. 17, for discussion of an ordinance to clarify some definitions regarding vacation and sick leave in the parish’s personnel policy handbook.

“Some people take advantage of the sick leave,” said Edward A. “Lucky” Songy Jr., the parish’s chief administrative officer.