Larry Dyer, director of finance for Execute Now, a Baton Rouge consulting firm, told the Finance Committee on Tuesday that the absence of major cost reductions originally promised for May and June leaves the system still struggling.
The outlook for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, is a bit better that it was when the Fiscal Review Committee got involved in the parish’s business, but the system is by no means out of the woods, Dyer noted.
“If you do no cost reduction and if you have the $3.5 million loan (the board has authorized asking the state for permission to issue bonds) you will fully use it by November and be out of cash,” Dyer said.
“The May and June cuts (mostly personnel) didn’t happen. Every month you wait is costing about $800,000 in net margin,” he said.
Layoffs that were supposed to begin in early May stalled when the board balked at what it considered an unfair Reduction in Force policy that it had earlier adopted.
That was revised at the May meeting.
Acting Supt. Joseph Cassimere said he will present layoff proposals to the board at its June 7 meeting.
Finance panel member Harry Fruge of Eunice noted the system has 77 retirements and five resignations whose cost savings need to be factored in.
“That’s a help and will ease the problem but is no solution,” Dyer said.
He said the state was hoping that after a year’s time, the parish would be out of its predicament, “but now it doesn’t look that way.”
“The longer you delay, the worst it is,” Dyer said.
He said the current year projection has improved, with the possibility the deficit will wind up at around $1 million as opposed to almost $4 million expected as recently as April.
The red-ink total for the year beginning July 1, however, remains at a projected $10 million.