Bossier Parish contemplates spending for fiscal year 2023 that will leap by a fifth. If only citizens knew why without going to a lot of inconvenience related to the opaque way the Police Jury does business.
Next week, the Jury will consider final adoption of the budget, going from $103 million in FY 2022 to $128 million this year. Major areas of increased spending include judicial functions, up $2.5 million to $6.2 million; public works, up $12.5 million to nearly $55 million; and culture and recreation, up over $6 million to nearly $17 million. Revenues hardly have kept pace, actually falling over $2 million from last year to almost $91 million. And that’s with state and other funds (from the federal government in special one-time payments such as in the name of the pandemic and Democrat-imposed spending bills) down about that much year-over-year. The parish has to dip into reserves as a result, leaving $61 million left.
This accounting isn’t precise. The Jury posts on its website the budget after its adoption, in broad categories for the general fund and for each special fund. But it doesn’t list figures from the previous year, either budgeted or actually spent. So, the actually spent figures may differ, and substantially, but if you want to know for sure, you’ll either have to trawl through every meeting’s minutes to see if the Jury made adjustments or make a public records request and hope a document with a running tally exists.