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Parish Council budgets 5% pay increase

The St. Landry Parish Council 2020 budget includes a 5% pay raise for its employees — the first in 10 to 15 years, according to budget information handed out at a special meeting Thursday.
Parish President Bill Fontenot said, “We have in this budget a 5% raise, so this is one the first times we’ve been able to afford it even though we are struggling to have a balanced budget. We are making some cuts.”
The parish government’s ailing finances have been shored up by a line of credit that started at $1.5 million and is now down to $1 million. The credit helps the parish government meet its obligations before property taxes are received after the first of the year.
The General Fund budget shows a beginning and ending balance in 2020 of $1,316,356. The amended 2019 budget shows an ending balance of $1,397,147, which is a negative $80,791 change in balance.
The 2020 budget is showing $859,644 transfer in from the line of credit. The actual transfer in 2019 is $760,024. The budget for 2019 started with a $923,947 transfer into the General Fund.
Total revenues are budgeted in 2020 at $4,385,485, up from $4,360,464 this year.
Total expenses in 2020 are budgeted at $5,220,129, up from $5,088,886 this year.
Amanda Cain, who was hired three years ago as finance director, is given credit for the turnaround in the parish budget.
General Fund budget changes from 2019 to 2020 noted a handout included:
— Revenue shortfall for 2019 and 2020 of approximately $130,000 from the Video Poker allocation due to loss of Go Bear’s Casino being incorrectly allocated by the state. We must pay back the Town of Grand Coteau $75,000 annually over the next several years for a total of $300,000.
— One time unrestricted reserves in general fund type accounts of approximately $150,000 were utilized in 2019 and are no longer available for 2020.
— Utilizing unrestricted reserved Adjudicated Property Revenue of approximately $130,000 for 2020 that may not be available for 2021.
— Increasing the human resources department by a full-time payroll position to be in compliance with internal financial controls for 2020.
— Increasing the administrative department by a part-time receptionist position due to work load increase from Clerk of Court’s office for 2020.
— 2020 Cost of living increase for employees in approximately 12 to 15 years.
— Eliminating six parish cell phones that do not meet the cell phone policy approved by the Council for 2020.
— No overtime pay; compensatory time given as earned for 2020.
— Increase in the employees’ portion of health insurance cost for 2020.
— Vehicles will not be allowed to be driven home to save on fuel cost for 2020.
— Increase in Building & Grounds Maintenance of approximately $50,000 for air conditioner units in multiple buildings and necessary elevator repair in Courthouse for 2020.
— Increase in capital outlay for state match requirements for 2020.
— Increase in juvenile detention cost of approximately $13,500 for 2019.
— Increase of prisoner cost by approximately $138,000 for 2019.
— Decrease of $15,000 in transfers to the Airport Fund for 2020.
Three years ago $67,000 was transferred to the Airport Fund from the General Fund.
Other budget changes include adding two positions in he public works department and vehicles will be allowed to be driving home to save on fuel costs.
The budget also includes several instances where overtime pay is eliminated.

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