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Spending up about 11%-12% in 2022 under budget Caddo commissioners adopted

Plan also says parish will have to offset some revenue shortfalls by tapping its healthy reserves
On a 9-1 vote, Caddo commissioners adopted a budget Dec. 1, 2021, for Fiscal Year 2022 that...
On a 9-1 vote, Caddo commissioners adopted a budget Dec. 1, 2021, for Fiscal Year 2022 that calls for increasing spending by about 11%-12% over what's being spent in Fiscal Year 2021.(Source: Caddo Parish Commission)
Published: Dec. 1, 2021 at 10:50 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 1, 2021 at 10:51 PM CST
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — Caddo commissioners adopted a 2022 budget Wednesday that increases spending by about 11%-12% over this year’s amended budget.

Those projections are based on the hope that the economy will experience some recovery from revenue losses attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The local economy continues to attempt to recover as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” the budget document states.

“Although there is some uncertainty, we anticipate that as the economic conditions improve, the economy will stabilize with limited growth and diversification.”

Nonetheless, the budget says Caddo will have to offset some revenue shortfalls by tapping its reserves.

And even though those resources are healthy, there are some areas of concern.

Among them is an estimated $4 million deficit in the parish’s juvenile justice budget.

That, officials say, is because Louisiana law now requires that 17-year-olds be held in Caddo Juvenile Detention Center, “... further increasing the demands for additional bed space in a facility that already has critical and limited space.”

And then there’s the continual increase in medical costs at Caddo Correctional Center. The estimated increase for 2022 is 7.6%, the result of medical staff salary increases and an increase in costs for prisoner medical care, especially costs associated with prescription drugs.

Other reasons for the increased spending include a projected 5% increase in health insurance premiums due to rising health care costs.

And “increases in operating expenses are typically associated with changes in compensation, benefits and staffing levels,” the budget summary states.

“The 2022 budget provides for a 2% cost-of-living adjustment and up to a 3% merit increase.”

Total budgeted positions, including parish-funded agencies, is 419, with two new positions being added in 2022.

Below are the budget ordinances that commissioners adopted Dec. 1, 2021, on a vote of 9-1.

District 1 Commissioner Todd A. Hopkins cast the lone dissenting vote. District 5’s Roy Burrell and District 10’s Mario Chavez were absent.

And here is Caddo government’s 2022 budget proposal. A parish spokeswoman said it’s identical to what commissioners adopted Wednesday:

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