Administration proposes $41 million budget for ’09

Deidre Cruse

Iberville Parish Finance Director Randall Dunn last week presented the Parish Council with the Ourso Administration’s proposal for a $41 million budget for 2009.

The council approved introducing the budget proposal as an ordinance and set a public hearing for December 16.

The budget includes $12.5 million in capital outlay projects, including the completion of the current road program, Dunn said.

“We’ll have basically brand new roads in the whole parish,” the director said.

Dunn presented the proposed budget to the council a month later than called for in the parish’s home rule charter. He had told the council earlier he was waiting for bills from the cleanup from Hurricane Gustav before finalizing the proposal.

It cost the parish some $3 million to hire a contractor and contract monitors for storm debris cleanup, the finance director said. It will cost between $1 million and $1.5 million to clear trees from parish canals, he said.

The federal government is expected to pay at least 75 percent of the clean-up costs, Dunn said, noting that Gov. Bobby Jindal has asked President George W. Bush to pay the final 25 percent, as well.

Dunn said he spent the last week with an insurance adjuster negotiating for coverage of damage to parish buildings.

“This is probably the hardest budget I ever worked on because of what has happened,” Dunn said. “It is a little tighter than it has been in the past.”