Donaldsonville finances following positive trend through pandemic

Michael Tortorich

Finance Director Sandra Cost Williams had a familiarly upbeat report for the Donaldsonville City Council during the March 23 meeting.

Finance Director Sandra Cost Williams addresses the Donaldsonville City Council during the finance report March 23.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, sales tax and motor-vehicle tax collections have been solid every month in the past year. In the most recent month of figures available, all categories marked increases.

Additionally, Williams said the parish tax authority has been collecting tax revenue from the Internet, or “remote sales.” The collections tallied $66,000 from August 2020 to January 2021.

Also in the first quarter of the year, the city collected fees for occupational licenses. The figure came to $83,220.

Williams concluded the report saying sales taxes have been up, and all departments have been operating as they should without significant expenditures.

The council also approved the adoption of the uniform purchasing policy, which ensures all city purchases comply with bid laws, ethics, and regulations. Adoption of the policy was one of the recommendations from a recent audit conducted by Postelthwaite and Netterville accountants.

“It’s not that we weren’t following it. They just wanted it in writing,” Williams said.

In other matters:

-- The council approved tourism grants to the Donaldsonville Area Chamber of Commerce  for $15,000, the Donaldsonville Downtown Development District for $45,000, and the River Road African American Museum for $50,000.

The funds are generated from the hotel/motel tax. The three entities submitted reports to the city in applying for the grants, which are awarded on an annual basis.

-- Republic Services’ Manager of Municipalities, Steve Smith, introduced himself to the council. He will be the point of contact for any issues with garbage collection.

He said he originally met with the mayor in January.

“Anything I can do to help you with garbage service, I’m the point of contact. If I can’t take care of it, I will get you to the right person,” Smith said.

-- The council adopted a drug policy ordinance for city employees.

In implementing the workplace substance abuse policy, it would provide one uniform policy for all employees of the city.

-- City leaders expect to receive some $3 million in federal funds from the federal stimulus package.

The funds are expected to be used on necessary water, sewer, and broadband projects.

Lee Melancon, the city's Director of Community and Economic Development, said further details will be released as made available to city officials.

-- The council approved an ordinance amending the special event permits ordinance, which fine-tuned the definition of a special event.

-- Also last week, the Donaldsonville Fire Department announced approval for the purchase of two Ford F-350 service trucks from the Ascension Parish Fire District No. 2 Fire Board.

The trucks will provide coverage at the Sunshine and Palo Alto fire departments.