Parish finances strong, depsite recession's toll

Staff Report

Ascension Parish ended 2009 with a $10.9 million surplus in its 1-cent sales tax fund, according to an audit released by parish accounting firm Faulk and Winkler at the regular finance committee meeting last week.

The 1-cent fund is the parish’s primary tax fund for its basic operations.

The surplus is a good indicator that the parish, despite the slowdown in sales tax revenues in 2009, is in a strong financial position.

The parish ended with the nearly $11 million surplus in the fund despite the fact that sales tax revenues were down seven percent, or approximately $2.3 million from 2008.

Net assets owned by the parish rose from $230 in 2008 to $245 million, mostly because of infrastructure improvements.

Auditor Tommy LeJeune told parish officials that Ascension appears to be in its “best financial position” that it has been in during his tenure as the parish’s auditor.

Parish President Tommy Martinez credited the positive report to the parish’s conservative fiscal plan allowing Ascension Parish government to weather the recent recession.