Denham Springs Finance Committee

Denham Springs Mayor Gerard Landry (right) discusses the budget with committee members Robert Poole (center) and Laura Schmitt Smith.

DENHAM SPRINGS - It's been three years since the Great Flood of 2016, but time means little in the face of the process of recovery.

Each piece will be replaced or fixed when the time, and money, are available.

At first glance, the proposed budget for the city of Denham Springs looks conservative, and it is - expected revenues sit at $15,054,444 and expenses total $15,157,830, equating to a loss of $103,000. 

However, the proprietary funds have an expected gain of $745,390. That leaves the city with positive cash flow of $642,390 in the proposed budget of 2019-2020.

Municipalities which offer utilities are required to keep a large enough funding source of cash on hand to repair city services in the event of catastrophic failure - including sewer, gas, and water lines.

Every year, each part of the city's government submits request for capital expenditures for their department. Anything from new technology, replacement equipment, or new vehicles.

This year, however, the 'capital items' request will, in large part, be a wash. 84.4% of those general fund requests are refundable through FEMA, as they are part of flood recovery. The total is just over $4.1 million in refundable items, of a $4.9 million capital items request list.

Items must be budgeted for that fiscal year because the city has to spend the money first, then submit paperwork for reimbursement.

Requests, which are up for approval Monday night, include:

  1. City Hall Purchase ($776,528)
  2. City Hall Remodel ($1,700,000)
  3. City Hall furniture ($250,000)
  4. Animal control building repair ($360,000)
  5. Animal control pickup truck ($20,000)
  6. Three police vehicles ($112,000)
  7. Street department Sewer Vac truck ($256,000)
  8. Street department Dump truck ($75,726)
  9. Street department Crack sealer ($27,000)
  10. Street department Bobcat ($20,000)
  11. Street department ($48,000)
  12. Water department well generators ($227,512)
  13. Sewer department lift station pumps ($280,760)

Most department's expenses are dominated by salaries, payroll taxes, and benefits. The one exception is in general government, where the $2.624 million toward the purchase of the new city hall has skewed the number.

General salaries for administration are $457,139. That does not include the mayor's salary for $41,375, and each councilman is paid a stipend of $1,000 per month. The total payroll tax and benefit cost for that department is $197,095. Nearly half of that, $88,000, is the city's match for health insurance.

The mayor is paid a matching amount from the utility fund, for a total salary of $82,750.

For planning and zoning, salaries clock in at $192,764, with payroll taxes and benefits hitting $80,183.

The permitting office slates projected salaries at $63,284, with $21,980 in payroll taxes and benefits.

Denham Springs pays part of Ward II judge Jerry Denton's salary at $25,800. They also pay a portion of the prosecuting attorney's fees, at $25,750. The city stays on the hook for $13,039 in payroll taxes and benefit for the two.

Animal control salaries are $231,000, with $41,599 in payroll taxes and benefits.

The fire department has salaries of $1,515,665, with payroll taxes and benefits to match of $769,914. The department has an extra $95,000 in repairs and maintenance for a new roof and interior of their old station, since the administration building had to be torn down post flood.

Police department salaries hit $1,961,992, with $1,090,302 in payroll taxes and benefits.

The street department salaries are $667,092, with $281,870 in benefits and payroll taxes. There's an extra $433,526 in the budget for vehicle and equipment purchases, as well as $173,801 for drainage maintenance.

Administrative pay in the utility departments adds up to $433,052, with direct labor costs of $1,567,757. The total payroll tax and benefits for that group is $815,298.

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