PORT ALLEN — West Baton Rouge Parish President Riley Berthelot Jr. presented the Parish Council with a $54.5 million spending plan for 2013 that reflects a 0.5 percent gain over the 2012 budget.
Berthelot told council members Tuesday night the modest budget increase is due to a 4 percent increase in sales tax collections and a 2.5 percent increase in property taxes.
Tax revenues during 2012 are projected to be more than $29 million, but Berthelot said it was best to be conservative with the budget.
“It means West Baton Rouge is continuing to grow,” Berthelot said. “The 4.5 percent increase in the budget is a very conservative effort. We budgeted collecting $25 million, but in 2012, we’ll probably collect $29 million. We like to stay conservative.”
Berthelot said some of the increased tax collections are due to one-time revenue from large construction projects at the Port of Baton Rouge.
The estimated beginning fund balance was $25,075,575 with total revenues of $51 million. Expenditures of $53.5 million will leave a projected ending balance of $22,665,443.
Parish Finance Manger Philip Bourgoyne said the parish total capital outlay is $14,752,343.
Of the $14.7 million, more than $2.5 million from the general fund is allocated for road resurfacing, recreation and maintenance equipment, including a new asphalt paver, culvert cleaner and a tractor with a flail mower.
An additional $312,517 for recreation equipment and improvements to parish facilities is drawn from recreation funding sources such as facility rentals, concessions and other fees.
Drainage is set to draw $404,000, while 911 emergency services, community centers, parish road overlays, the detention center and communications will spend $1.5 million.
Grant and loan funding will pay for more than $10 million of sewer projects, additional drainage projects and improvements, the largest being the first phase of the Lobdell sewer project at $2.8 million and the connector highway linking La. 1 and La. 415, which will cost $2.4 million.
Roads scheduled for repair are Maple, Patricia, Erwin, Ena, Balis, Coffield, Pecan, Oak, Willow and Walnut streets.
Also, Allendale Road, Oak Alley and Metro, Arlene, Brittany, Chatelan, Roseland, Rosebud and Rose Petal drives will be resurfaced. Rosewood Court and South Westport will be resurfaced as well.
“We’re not having any trouble funding our departments,” Berthelot said. “If things were really tight and we had to cut back on people, we’d look at it harder. But we like to be a little conservative.”