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Maurice budget reflective of brighter future

MAURICE — The Village of Maurice is about a month into its new fiscal year, and while considering many aspects are still in recovery mode from the August 2016 floods, the future is starting to show a little brighter.
The Village of Maurice Board of Aldermen, which will meet today at 6 p.m., passed its new budget during last month’s meeting. Maurice’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30.
“Things are stable compared to previous years,” Maurice Mayor Wayne Theriot said. “We are still having some impacts from August of ‘16, with the amount of funds that we had to outlay for the recovery.
“It looks like that is starting to stabilize and we will be moving forward a little bit.”
Helping in that matter is the fact that reimbursements from FEMA are beginning to come in. The federal government will eventually cover 90 percent of the cost from the flood damage. The village will still have to pay more than $150,000 for its share.
“We had to tap into a lot of our funds,” Theriot said.
The good news there is that the sales tax fund is showing improvement.
“Sales tax has somewhat overall increased,” Theriot said. “That is a good sign for us. It looks like the economy is coming back.
“Sales tax is stabilizing to a figure that we can move forward with.”
This year’s budget plans for $45,000 in sales tax per month. That is similar to last year’s estimation, which did fall in line.
“We went with that figure again,” Theriot said. “Our hopes are that we will exceed it. It’s a good figure to hit. If we do hit it, we will be able to accomplish some things.”
Half of the sales tax each month goes into a capital outlay fund, which can cover various improvements, including roads. Again, officials had to use much of that fund to help pay for flood damage. Further reimbursement from FEMA will be put back into the capital outlay fund.
“Hopefully as we move forward through this year,” Theriot said, “we will be able to do some things with our capital outlay. That seems to be building back up. We will maybe be able to look at road projects and looking at some things for the park.”
Even as sales tax shows signs of improvement, the mentality that helped the village through tough fiscal times will remain.
“Over the last two years,” Theriot said, “all of the departments have been very conscience of the situation. We have been very fruitful in the way we look at things. We look at every expenditure. We have been very conservative, delaying some things. Simple things like not updating uniforms.
“Everyone did their part.”
There is a positive for those employees who helped keep things in line. This year’s budget allowed for a two-percent cost-of-living raise to employees. Theriot, members of the Board of Aldermen and part-time employees were excluded from the raise.
“We haven’t given a cost-of-living raise in three years,” Theriot said.
That is one of many signs that things are moving in a positive direction.
“We are starting to see somewhat of a light at the end of the road,” Theriot said.

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