Budget Turnaround

Last minute budget amendments and a look toward the new year was the main topic of the December meeting of the Fire Department Board.  The adjustments are required to keep the expenditures and budgeted amounts within a 5% range.  There is good news for the department.

Kylie Shaw, the fire board’s accountant, told the board, “We should finish this year with a $400 to $450 thousand dollar surplus.  It is a good end to the first year with the new board.”

This time last year the fire department was virtually out of funds and any reserve funds had also been depleted.  The financial situation came to light when the board asked the Police Jury to approve a refinancing of debt by getting the public to renew the property tax bonds nearly three years early.  That renewal was put on the ballot and the public approved it.  However, the financial situation with the fire department came to light, and that lead the Police Jury to appoint a new Fire Department Board.

2021 was a year of making cuts to spending and adjustments to operations to bring the budget back into the black.  The Fire Chief resigned, an interim chief was named from among the current employees, and a few weeks ago a part-time Chief was hired to run the department.

Back to the board meeting Monday.  The budget for 2022 was approved.  It is based upon the projected tax revenue income. Also there is a $650,000 grant that has been applied for.  The budget is not depending upon the grant to be balanced.  If the grant is received it will be spent on new equipment.

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