Covering Louisiana

Mar 29, 2014 4:13 PM by AP

Bogalusa trims city workforce

BOGALUSA, La. (AP) - The city has cut 13 workers from its payroll after it discovered at budget shortfall of more than $600,000 for 2013.

Mayor Charles Mizell told The Daily News that the layoffs affected all five city departments - personnel, finance, public works, police and fire.

The layoffs were made March 20 and came at the end of a nearly two-week period in which the mayor and his staff combed through financial records and found a $635,000 shortfall between the amounts budgeted and the expenditures for the year.

The findings were discovered recently and came as a surprise because regular financial updates had indicated the city was in good standing with growing sales tax revenue.

"It's a citywide thing," Mizell said. "Every department overspent on overtime, and there were some overruns, like for the concrete for collapsed sewer lines."

The city's financial accounting technology failed in May 2013 and wasn't back online until September, the mayor said.

Mizell said he could only make decisions based on the information he had before him, and he had none from May through September 2013.

The cuts will save 13 salaries and a lot of overtime, Mizell said.

"We are still working on more savings at this time," he said. "Our goal is to continue searching for more economical ways to operate and maintain services for our citizens."

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