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September 21, 2019

Bogalusa Fiscal Administrator Presents Status Report

Albert J. “Joey” Richard, III, the Fiscal Administrator appointed to the City of Bogalusa May 31,
2019, presented a Status Report Thursday morning (September 20, 2019) at a hearing presided over by 22nd District Judge William J. “Rusty” Knight.

Richard reported that he met with the Bogalusa Council Chairman, Mayor, and Department heads to explain administration requirements and to set operating procedures and is receiving cooperation of the Council, Mayor, and employees. Further, Richard had hired legal counsel, an actuary, and landfill engineers. Richard indicated that he is reviewing all departments for potential expense reductions and is also reviewing all fees and charges for services in order to increase revenues.

Richard reiterated the major financial issues as
  • an unfunded accrued pension liability in the COBERS Plan of $22,000,000 as of June 30, 2018
  • a Landfill Fund deficit of $456,000 as of December 31, 2019 and $2,100,000 owed to the Choctaw Landfill Joint Venture with Washington Parish
  • structural annual budget deficits in all funds of $1,200,000 that will require additional revenues or expenditure reductions
Regarding the COBERS Plan, Richard
  • stated that as of June 30, 2018, the actuarial accrued liability was $26,491,000 and had assets of $4,246,000
  • described a decrease in Plan assets due to under-funding over the past four years
  • indicated that the City had rededicated $544,000 in sales and property taxes for 2019 and that additional revenues will be sought, with voter approval, in the spring of 2020
Regarding the Choctaw Landfill issue, Richard advised Judge Knight that he had met with Washington Parish and has another meeting on September 20th, with the goal of resolving the issue without litigation. Judge Knight advised that he wanted to review any negotiated resolution of the issue before it is finalized.

Resolving the financial woes of the City of Bogalusa, a situation that has developed over many years, is a complicated task and one that will not be quickly accomplished. The Status Report presented was, in the opinion of some of those present at the hearing, short on specifics and did not meet their expectations.

Click here for a previous related story and background.

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