Morgan City mayor, council pore over budget

Morgan City Mayor Frank "Boo" Grizzaffi

By Zachary Fitzgerald
Requests for funding in the city’s 2014 proposed budget include $500,000 for sewer treatment facility repairs, $250,000 for a new fire truck, and $200,000 for two rear-loading garbage trucks.
City officials pored over the city’s proposed $37.5 million 2014 budget at a budget workshop Tuesday. Department heads told the city council why certain items were in their budgets, and why unfunded items are in need of funding.
The sanitation department requested $200,000 for two new rear-loading garbage trucks to come out of the city’s pollution abatement fund in case of a catastrophe, Mayor Frank “Boo” Grizzaffi said. The city has two rear-loading trucks in use for curbside garbage pickup and a few commercial cans.
The city plans to reconfigure the rear-loading trucks to pick up some of the city’s residential garbage, Public Works Director Mike Loupe said.
The police department has $60,000 from the general fund budgeted to buy two new cars and lights. The police department has 14 vehicles with more than 100,000 miles and actually needs three new vehicles, Police Chief Travis Crouch said.
The public works department is requesting $51,000 for an excavator from H&B Young Foundation to be shared among public works, water, sewer, gas and beautification, Loupe said.
The sewer department is trying to get $500,000 for headworks basin repairs due to deterioration and a leak in the basin, but the item is not yet funded. Headworks refers to the initial treating of wastewater, according to Water & Wastes Digest magazine. The proposed project is still in the design stage, Utilities Director Bill Cefalu said.
Public works asked for more than $500,000 in capital improvements and acquisitions, most of which is not funded, in the water distribution department. The council proposed installing a new water valve for $50,000 to be able to isolate an area when a water line has an issue, Kawika Kaai, supervisor for water, sewer and gas, said.
Public works is also looking to get a not-yet funded closed cab grass-cutting tractor for $55,000.
The fire department asked for a new $250,000 pumper fire truck, which is not yet funded. Fire Chief Morris Price is hoping to get by without the truck in 2014, but the department has had issues with its two 18-year-old trucks, he said.
The city has $500,000 for subdivision street repairs that will be paid for by the city’s three-tenths sales tax, which was passed in 2012.
Lake End Park has more than $50,000 budgeted for capital acquisitions and improvements, which includes a pickup truck and a sump well, to be funded out of the Lake End Park budget. Another $20,000 of proposed bathroom renovations at the park has not been funded yet.
For Lake End Parkway, the department is requesting $40,000 for furnishings for three new lake houses planned to be built in 2014. That money is proposed to come out of the Lake End Parkway fund.
The council also approved the city’s state capital outlay request at Tuesday’s meeting. “Most of these are resubmittals from previous years. The state requires us to resubmit each and every year,” Grizzaffi said. “We put them in priority which is basically the bulkhead of the riverfront project that we’re going to run short of.” 
Water system improvements and La. 70 drainage improvements are also among items to be submitted for funding. 
The 2014 budget will be up for approval at November’s city council meeting.

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