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|OCOG anticipates $425K budget in new fiscal year|
The Ouachita Council of Governments later this month will give final approval to its proposed $425,876 budget the new fiscal year, which includes a $70,000 increase over its current budget.
On Monday, OCOG reviewed its proposed budget which includes $70,000 in federal highway money that OCOG will receive if the cities of West Monroe and Monroe as well as the Ouachita Parish Police Jury agree to put up matching funds.
OCOG is comprised of members of both cities and the police jury.
David Creed, OCOG's executive director, said the police jury would be responsible for most of the match to acquire the federal highway dollars. The police jury's amount would be about $6,000 in matching funds, Creed said.
Creed said the federal funding normally is earmarked for planning activities, but North Delta Regional Planning and Development District, which assists OCOG with its planning matters, does not need as much money for planning in the upcoming fiscal year.
"We need a slight increase for our expenses, and we need a slight increase for the audit because it will cost a little more than last year," Creed continued. "But still, there is plenty of money that could be used for projects like the stage zero study for Old Sterlington Road. So what we're asking is rather than just give it back, let's use it on a project.
"They don't have to use it for that (Old Sterlington stage zero study). We're just asking them to think it over because we could use the money for a project. It's not enough to build a project, but it's enough to do a stage zero study, and we always have trouble trying to find money for stage zero."
A stage zero study is the first of several environmental impact studies that are conducted before a road construction project can begin.
The North 4th Street overpass/underpass project also needs money for a stage zero study, Creed said.
West Monroe Mayor Dave Norris, OCOG's vice president, said the city of West Monroe needs money for the stage zero study on its Montgomery Street project.
OCOG's next meeting will be held June 23, at the Monroe city hall. A public hearing will be held beginning at 11:30 a.m. that day to give citizens an opportunity to comment on the proposed budget. OCOG will vote on the budget at noon.
Once OCOG adopts its budget for the upcoming fiscal year, it will become affective July 1.