Spending up, balance down in proposed budget

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 7, 1998

By LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / October 7, 1998

HAHNVILLE – St. Charles Parish President Chris Tregre called forincreased spending and cutting the fund balance in his annual budget message before the St. Charles Parish Council Monday.Three budget hearings are planned – Oct. 12 at 9 a.m., Oct. 15 at 6 p.m. andOct. 22 at 6 p.m.Altogether, Tregre called for cutting the parish’s fund balance, the total amount of money left over after the 1999 budget year, by $30.4 million.The 1998 current estimate of the fund balance is $63.1 million.Most of the additional spending comes under capital outlay, with $57.2million requested, $33.2 million over 1998.Tregre said cuts were also necessary due to decreases in property and sales tax revenue, among other taxes and fees.

At the same time, plans for increasing the recycling fee by Jan. 1, thesolid waste collection fee by June 1, and the sewerage treatment fee by Jan. 1, 1999, are planned as well.During 1999, the parish plans to begin construction of the Paul Maillard sidewalk and begin work on the two regional sewerage treatment facilities. The new plants, to be located in Destrehan and Hahnville, willreplace smaller, less-efficient facilities scattered around the parish.

Tregre commented: “Within the last two years the parish has lost an alarming number of highly qualified, trained and experienced employees.

These employees have accepted positions in the private sector mainly because they felt that they could not pass up the opportunity to better their careers and their financial positions.”He continued, “A number of them expressed that even though they enjoyed public service, they could not deprive their families of the opportunities offered to them by the private sector.”As a response to this trend, Tregre announced a proposed limited program to match parish employee’s voluntary contributions to the parish’s deferred compensation program. This is not to exceed $174,000 and isbased on a scale based on years of service.

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