Mayor Rodney Grogan informed residents that the city will only assess 8.29 mills in property taxes as opposed to the 12.41 mills the city has been approved to collect.
The reason? The city has not yet issued bonds for renovation and expansion of the city’s water plant as approved in an April 30 special election.
“We hope to sell the bonds by the end of the year,” and impose the millage in 2012, Councilman Larry Mendoza said.
As an example of the savings, Grogan said a home with an assessed value of $113,000 would be taxed $93.68 this year instead of the $233.91 owed under the 12.41 millage.
“It’s good for the financial circumstances we’re in now … it’s Christmas in August for the City of Patterson,” Grogan said, referencing the area’s financial crisis.
The water plant woes will be the topic of an Aug. 16 meeting between the city’s engineers, auditors, financial advisors, mayor, two councilmen and representatives of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A 2010 feasibility study indicated the city needs a new water plant or it will face fines. The meeting is closed to the public.
The St. Mary Council on Aging also enjoyed the mayor and council’s generosity Tuesday.
Executive Director Beverly DiMaggio asked for $3,500 in annual funding and was given $5,000.
Grogan asked the council to increase the funding to $4,500 citing decreases for such programs on the federal level and offered to forgo a month of his salary.
Mendoza asked if the entire council could forgo a month’s salary and increase the donation to $5,000. The council agreed, but the money will be coming from the general fund, not their paychecks.
In other financial matters, the council introduced the city’s operating and capital outlay budgets for the coming fiscal year.
The city anticipates $6.6 million in revenue and $6.1 million in expenditures with an ending fund balance of $16.9 million. In capital outlay, the city will spend $210,000 for police department vehicles and equipment upgrades, $5,000 for administrative computers and $10,000 in equipment for the gas and water departments.
In other action, the council:
—Learned from Rep. Sam Jones, D-Franklin, that the legislature funded $2.4 million (St. Mary Parish’s match) toward the placement and removal of the barge in Bayou Chene to prevent backwater flooding. The $11 million total is expected to be funded in part by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
—Learned from Jones that the Red Cypress Road interchange should enter the design phase by the end of the year and will be the next one funded along U.S. 90.
—Requested aid in the placement of a light at the crossing of Lipari Street and U.S. 90. School bus drivers have complained to the city that they are having trouble crossing the highway and the railroad tracks in the area.
—Approved a resolution authorizing the mayor to apply for a Delta Regional Authority grant.
—Approved a resolution requesting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to construct a permanent flood control structure at Bayou Chene.
—Heard from city engineer Clay Breaux that the Catherine Street sidewalks project will go to bid Sept. 28.
—Agreed to a new franchise agreement with Cleco that will run 22 years. This is a renewal of the current agreement, and it allows for the remaining two years on that agreement to be maintained.
—Approved a recommendation to subdivide a lot at 220 Enterprise Ave. to facilitate its sale to a church following a public hearing.