Friday, October 2, 2020
After consultation with the St. Tammany Parish Council leadership and my executive staff about the fiscal challenge we face, and what steps we will take to review our current finances, revenue streams and expenses to determine viable solutions, I announced at the October St. Tammany Parish Council meeting that we will form a Revenue Review Committee to seek out ways to meet this challenge. Representation on this committee will include: our Parish-wide elected officials who represent their own agencies and receive money through Parish Government; citizens of St. Tammany; and representatives from law enforcement, the school system, municipalities, non-profits, business organizations, recreation districts, fires districts, and the Northshore Home Builders Association.
On Thursday, October 1, 2020, the St. Tammany Parish Council introduced two ordinances for adoption of the proposed 2021 Parish Operating Budget, and the proposed 2021 Parish Capital Improvement Budget. I have outlined in this budget several key initiatives including: the streamlining of public services to increase efficiency, save money, and better serve St. Tammany citizens; the restoration of trust between Parish Government and citizens through increased transparency and access to public officials; the update of the current comprehensive plan — last updated in 1999; and the creation of partnerships with local and State leaders on issues that impact all citizens, including infrastructure and economic development.
When I took the oath of office at the beginning of this year, I committed to providing a more streamlined and responsive government, to place sensible controls on unbridled development and avoid mistakes of the past, and to use our public monies wisely and efficiently on priorities which address our basic and most pressing needs. This year’s budget reflects the continued effort to improve the financial accountability of Parish Government and to meet the service demands of our citizens and the infrastructure needs of our Parish. Considering the economic uncertainties in our parish, our state, our nation, and our world, in the foreseeable future due to COVID-19, the proposed budget is conservative and fiscally prudent.
The Parish Council noted in their October 1, 2020 Council agenda, that they will hold a public hearing in Council Chambers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 5, 2020 to review the proposed Operating and Capital Improvement Budgets prior to adoption. The Parish’s paperless version of the proposed budgets, is available for review online on the St. Tammany Parish Government website at this link.
As always, thank you for your continued leadership.
Should you have questions or if I may be of assistance to you in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Michael B. Cooper