WBR ’12 tax revenue higher than projected

Two parish officials told the West Baton Rouge Parish Council on Thursday that past downward economic trends reflected in the number of building permits issued and sales tax collection seemed to be reversed, moving upward in 2012.

Parish Finance Director Phillip A. Bourgoyne asked the council to amend the 2012 budget upward by $909,300 because sales tax collections in the last quarter of 2012 were higher than anticipated.

“We started the budget projection process for 2012 in August 2011,” Bourgoyne said. “It’s difficult to say what the sales tax collections will be in the following year. We always have to adjust and amend the numbers, but the parish had a good year.”

Bourgoyne said the original $8.8 million set aside for the general fund was adjusted to $9.7 million for the final 2012 budget.

The council unanimously approved the budget amendment for 2012, increasing the general fund by $909,300.

Public Works Director Kevin Durbin said that building permits, plat permits and commercial permits all increased in 2012 as well.

“There had been a slight downward trend in subdivision plat applications in 2010 and 2011 that we noticed,” Durbin said. “But in 2012, the numbers came back up.”

Commercial construction applications increased also, Durbin said.

“We had eight commercial applications in 2012,” Durbin said. “For a parish our size, that’s pretty impressive. In this case, it was a lot of retail along Highway 1.”

Other business coming before the council included:

BUREAU APPOINTMENTS: The council approved the appointment of Sandra Hughes as the West Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce representative on the West Baton Rouge Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The council also approved the Port Allen Lion’s Club appointment of Joe Howell to the Convention and Visitors Bureau.