Wright: Budget passes; $112 million in revenue

Published 12:02 am Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The St. John the Baptist Parish Council met for the last meeting of the year Tuesday to handle a number of high priority items.

One of the biggest items of the year was completed with the Council successfully passing the 2017 annual operating budget with projected revenue of nearly $112 million in revenues plus fund balances carried over.

This revenue projection encompasses Ad Valorem Taxes, Sales & Use Tax, Service Fees, State & Federal Grants, Licenses & Permit Fees, Fines & Forfeitures and Interest & Other Revenue.

Expenditures are expected to be approximately $107 million with nearly 44 percent dedicated to Capital Outlay dollars appropriated. Other than annual operating costs, the budget includes funding appropriations for capital projects estimated to be completed over the next several years such as but not limited to:

• Government facility upgrades and construction

• Drainage system improvements

• Water and sewer system infrastructure upgrades

• Parishwide concrete and asphalt Street repair

• Bridge repair and construction

Highlighting some of the biggest news for St. John Parish this year, recently the President of the United States, Barack Obama, signed the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation into law.

This authorizes vital water projects across the country and improves flood control in certain segments of the US.

The WIIN Act, previously known as the Water Resources Development Act, includes the Westshore Lake Pontchartrain Hurricane Protection Levee for the River Region.

With a total cost of over $700 million, St. John Parish has a cost share of approximately $50 million with an estimated of $5 million in annual operations and maintenance costs.

This is a huge step forward for St. John in levee protection.

The next phase will be securing funding to begin construction on this monumental project.

It has been an honor serving as the Council Vice Chairman for St. John Parish this year, representing the governing body and residents of our great parish.

Both the Executive and Legislative branches of government remain committed to bringing ideas from both sides of the table to work towards a bigger, better and stronger parish.

Thank you for allowing us to serve in one of the most challenging, yet rewarding positions – Public Service.

Lastly but certainly not least, on behalf of the St. John the Baptist Parish Council and Administration, I hope you and your family had a Merry Christmas and we wish you all a very Happy and Prosperous New Year.

God Bless us and God Bless St. John!

Michael P. Wright is St. John the Baptist Parish Council District 5 representative and Council vice chairman. Contact him at District5@sjbparish.com or m.wright@sjbparish.com.