Letter: Central isn’t ‘struggling’ at all

I would like to take this opportunity to respond to a completely inaccurate statement made by EBR Metro Councilman Joel Boé in the article titled, “New city sought for school district,” which appeared in The Advocate on June 24.

In the article, Boé stated that creating a new city in the southeastern part of the parish is “a step in the wrong direction” and used the city of Central in a statement in an attempt to prove his point by saying, “Central is still, I wouldn’t say struggling, but they’re having a hard time from a public works standpoint, and a police and fire standpoint.”

I would recommend that he check some facts before making such a statement in the future.

Since separating from the EBR Parish government in March of 2008, each year, the city of Central has maintained a healthy budget surplus. For the fiscal year 2010-11, the city ended up with a $1.3 million surplus (20 percent of revenues). In the 2011-12 fiscal year, a surplus of $2.1 million was recorded (32 percent of revenues); and in the 2012-13 fiscal year, a surplus of $1.7 million is expected (25 percent of revenues). I would hardly call that “having a hard time.”

For the upcoming 2013-14 fiscal year starting July 1, a 22 percent budget surplus is expected. These healthy surpluses are due to prudent financial practices, nonwasteful spending and privatization of most services, including public works.

Our public works division maintains an excellent work record, and we are certainly not having a hard time.

For example, for the fiscal year July 1, 2011, through June 30, 2012, our public works department received a total of 2,126 work requests. At the end of that fiscal year, 96 percent of those requests had been completed. So far this fiscal year, from July 1, 2012, through May 31, 2013, a total of 1,537 public works requests have been made, and 96 percent have been completed. Additionally, all of the remaining requests from the 2011-2012 fiscal year have been resolved. Most of our requests are resolved within 30 days. We attribute the high completion rate to our privatizing the Public Works Department to IBTS, which is doing an excellent job.

As for the fire department standpoint, fire coverage for the city of Central is handled through the Central Fire Protection District, Chaneyville Fire District and Pride Fire District. These three districts were in existence before Central was incorporated. They continue to provide excellent service to our citizens through their respective districts. The city of Central is not responsible for providing fire protection services.

Therefore, next time, I would suggest that Councilman Boé gather better information to distribute to the public rather than making false statements.

David Barrow

chief administrative officer, Central