Rising revenue helps boost jury’s budget

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 19, 2000

VIDALIA, La. – With almost $300,000 in the bank and less than three months left in the year, the outlook for the Concordia Parish Police Jury’s general fund may not be as gloomy as first thought.

Since it is late in the year, most of the general fund money jurors had budgeted for such things as salaries and benefits, public safety, elections, health and welfare, and the Airport Authority has already been spent.

As of Sept. 30, the date of the jury’s latest quarterly report, the amount of general fund money spent so far this year was almost $650,000, or about $250,000 behind the amount budgeted for the entire year.

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In late July, before the report was released, jury Finance Committee Chairman Randy Temple said it looked as though the jury might run out of money before the end of the year. Temple and jury President Charlie Blaney could not be reached for comment Thursday.

But less than three months later, most types of revenue the jury receives have already surpassed the amount the jury had estimated for the whole year — most notably oil and gas severance taxes, due to a rise in petroleum prices.

&uot;That rise in severance taxes is what’s really saved us, especially with the Fruit of the Loom situation,&uot; said Robbie Shirley, the jury’s secretary-treasurer, referring to the fact that the bankrupt company owes the jury $564,000 in ad valorem taxes.

Fruit of the Loom is expected to pay those taxes next year, which will help the jury’s 2001 budget, Shirley added.

So far this year, the jury has received $272,007 in severance tax revenues from the state. That is more than the $270,000 jurors had estimated for the entire year.

&uot;And we’ll still get another (severance tax) check before the end of the year, though it’s hard to predict how that will be,&uot; Shirley said. &uot;Barring some kind of disaster, we should be OK.&uot;

The jury has also gotten $218,562 in ad valorem, beer and franchise taxes, above the jury’s $202,000 estimate for the whole year, and $112,165 in license and permit fees, compared to an estimate of $108,460 for the whole year.