Predictions of Kenner’s revenue for fiscal 2008 came within 1% of actual collections, as total revenue in the New Orleans suburb dropped $11 million from fiscal 2007.
Finance director Duke McConnell said fiscal 2008 revenue totaled $400,000 less than expected. Expenditures were also down $1.3 million, or 2% under budget,
McConnell said ended fiscal 2008 with a fund balance of $8.2 million, with $1.6 billion of that being allocated to capital projects in the fiscal 2009 budget.
However, $4 million of fiscal 2008’s $6.6 million surplus is money the city does not yet have but expects to receive as reimbursements from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for expenses associated with recovery from Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Gustav in 2008.
“We have a $4 million IOU from FEMA,” McConnell said. “The city will have to continue to be frugal with spending until the global recession ends.”
The report said expenditures were down $7 million from fiscal 2007 as cleanup activities from Katrina declined and city employees took over several functions that had been outsourced, including legal, engineering, and accounting.
Revenues were off $11 million due to lower reimbursements from FEMA for Katrina restoration efforts and a decline in sales tax revenues.
Sales tax revenues fell to $35 million in fiscal 2008. Property tax collections were up $8.1 million, an increase of 14%. Kenner’s sales tax revenues hit a peak in fiscal 2007 with collections of $37.9 million.
Mayor Ed Muniz said Kenner is facing the same budget pressures as many cities across Louisiana.
“The city of Kenner doesn’t live in a vacuum,” Muniz said. “We are not immune to the global recession.”
Kenner’s sales tax bonds are rated Baa1 by Moody’s Investors Service.