Central Is Doing Just Fine, Thank You!

By  | 

By Jeanie Barnett as published in the Crystal Place Newsletter

According to a November 18th article in the Advocate, The City of Central has ended the 2007-2008 fiscal year nearly $3 million in the black according to an independent audit of the city’s finances.  While this is true, we have had the opportunity to speak to Mayor Mac Watts and get more accurate and updated information.

Hurricane Gustav has delivered an unforeseen “blow” to that budget, (pun intended) as Central’s portion of the over $1 million cost of the ensuing cleanup is yet to be paid off.  Fortunately, Central’s portion will not be the expected 25% as in the Advocate report, but 5% due to two FEMA funding projects.

Even taking into consideration the storm expenses, there will be a surplus, due in large part to a 3 mil pothole tax.  That tax is to be portioned out with 70% going to new construction, 27% to rehab (road repair) and 3% to beautification.

What can we see as a result of this budget?

*Sullivan and Hooper roads are slated to be widened on an accelerated time line. 

*As soon as possible, a capital improvements program will be started to maintain and improve the roads for which the city is responsible. 

*A new municipal center.  Currently City Hall is in a private home.  Central has landed state funds to design the new center.

After the audit, Jacob Waguespack of the Baton Rouge firm Faulk & Winkler has proclaimed Central financially healthy.

Mayor Watts reminds us that a one time $800,000 start up fee to CH2M Hill is paid off.  We should end this year with $300,000 to $400,000 surplus in the general fund.  The projection is that Central will end the next fiscal year with a one and a half to two million dollar surplus.