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Chataignier experiences a budget shortfall in general fund and sewer fund

A budget short fall is facing the Village of Chataignier in its general fund and sewer fund. The news came during the village council’s meeting Monday where it adopted the budget for the new fiscal year which began Wednesday, July 1.
The village collected $132,916.00 in total revenues last year, which is higher than the budgeted amount of $108,982.00. However, the village spent $158,829.00 over the last fiscal year which is higher than the $144,802.00 which was initially budgeted.
“If we don’t figure out some way to cut costs,” said Village Clerk Laken Fontenot, “we’re going to be in the same boat next year.”
A similar situation faces the village in its budget for the new fiscal year as $132,916.00 is projected to be collected and $158,829.00 is projected to be spent.
One bright spot on the budget is the village collected more in fines and forfeitures than it initially projected. In the 2020 fiscal budget, the village projected to collect $21,969.00, however, it actually brought in $44,989.00. The village expects to collect $50,000.00 in fiscal year 2021.
Over in the utility fund, the forecast is not much better because of sewer expenses. The village collected $60,951.00 last year and spent $100,123.00. It is projected to bring in $45,000.00 over the next year and spend $106,500.00.
Mayor Justin Darbonne and council members Carilyn “Tu” Arvie and J.B. Brasseaux discussed ways to trim some expenses and to bring in more revenue.
Among the idea to trim costs are to purchase a postage meter from Pitney Bose which will cut down on the cost of stamps and to set a fee on credit and debit card transactions which will be added to the cost for the customer. Every time a customer pays with a credit or debit card, the village is responsible for paying a percentage to the card companies.
“If we’re only collecting $2,400.00 in sewer a month, we’re paying out $400.00 a month on card transactions,” Fontenot said.
Both items will be discussed further at the village’s next regular meeting on Monday, July 20.
One idea to increase revenue is to meet with representatives from Dollar General. Councilwoman Arvie stated she had planned for such a meeting before the coronavirus.
“Get the paperwork, and we’ll find a spot,” said Mayor Darbonne.
Councilwoman Debra Fontenot was not present.

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