EPSO ends fiscal year with major surplus
From left to right sits Evangeline Parish Tax Assessor Dirk Deville, Chief Deputy Assessor Josh Fontenot, Sheriff Eddie Soileau and Mike Fontenot during the Sheriff's budget meeting on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of Stephanie Ware)
By: ELIZABETH WEST
Just two and a half months after paying off a $1 million loan, Evangeline Parish Sheriff Eddie Soileau adopted a budget that reflects a major financial turn around from last September when the sheriff declared his department was broke.
During a public hearing on Thursday, June 15, 2017, the sheriff revealed that his office has ended this fiscal year with a $849,186 surplus.
Concerning this surplus, the sheriff stated, “In all of my years I have never seen a number like this before. Since I started, $600,000 was a good number. This looks good.”
However, the budget adopted for the year ending June 2018 shows a lower end of the year surplus of $155,279.
The decrease in surplus is due to the fact that the sheriff anticipates bringing in $375,928 less in revenues than in the fiscal year ending June 2017.
According to Evangeline Parish Tax Assessor Dirk Deville, whose office entered into an intergovernmental agreement to assist the sheriff last September, the decline in revenues is partly due to the fact that some of the “money collected was from last year.”
Monies that had not been collected by the sheriff’s office included $10,788 from 911, $57,500 from the Ville Platte Police Department for inmate meals, and $483,000 for State inmate holding.
For the year ending June 2018, the sheriff will not receive any money from 911, he anticipates receiving $3,500 less from VPPD for inmate meals, and $243,000 less for State inmate holding.
In addition to this, Chief Deputy Assessor Josh Fontenot, who has primarily worked in the EPSO over the last nine months, shared that the budget for the year ending June 2018 also shows a “$20,000 a month projected increase in salaries,” because they plan “to put more people to work and more officers on the road.”
Fontenot stated, “We are cutting down that surplus, but we will be providing something better to the people.”
Although the sheriff wished the surplus was higher for the fiscal year ending June 2018, he stated, “We can work with this. I don’t like that number, but we have to do what we have to do.”