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Monroe leaders predict $4 million budget deficit

Monroe, La.-- - Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo announced that the BJ Washington Fitness Community Center may be shutting its doors in the near future.

He said it's one move the city may make, to help balance a predicted $4 million shortfall in this year's budget.

"The BJ Washington Center was just a small piece of that because each department will have to make some cuts and some departments will have to look at some revenue enhancements," Mayor Mayo said.

City council member Michael Echols said one reason for the deficit is that the city is making less money from sales taxes than expected. 

"The trend has shown just in the last several months that it's averaging down about 2 to 3-percent per month year over year," Echols said. "So that turns out to be a pretty big number at the end of the day."

Mayor Mayo said some city programs, facilities and or jobs may get placed on the chopping block.

As for what may see cuts? For now, it's unclear. 

"We will make that announcement next week so the community will know the total package and plan as far as cuts we're going to have to make and also revenue enhancements," Mayor Mayo added.
Echols said he expects cuts from across the board, but many jobs could be eliminated. 

"If you look at our budget 70-percent of our budget is people. It's benefits, it's salaries, it's wages. So when you look at the size of the cut he's talking about, I mean you're definitely looking at those areas," Echols said.

For those concerned about this potential deficit, Mayor Mayo has one message. 

"We've been good stewards, we've got good people working within the administration so we're very proud of what we've done and we're very optimistic of  what we'll continue to do," he said. 

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