Just like you, the city and the parish you live in earn money and pay bills every month and keep track of all the transactions on an operating budget.

A projected operating budget is set during the fiscal year for the coming year and approximately six months later the budget is generally amended to show actual numbers instead of projected one.

And just like you, many of the items listed on the are predictable and routine, but others are not. This is why it is called a projected budget; it is what you expect to receive and spend.

What the finance department does is looks at the previous year budgets for all departments, such as sewer and water, roads and maintenance and public safety, to see what each spent on wages, taxes, supplies, telephone, insurance, projects, capital outlay, auditing and so forth.

At the beginning of the fiscal year, the finance department then tries to anticipate what each department will spend in the coming year.

If they know that certain things are needed, like a new tractor for the road crew, or a utility vehicle, additional paving or sewer repairs they will try to add those expenses into the coming years budget.

Once they have the budget set it is voted on by the town council and adopted into the ordinances.

Once the budget is set it is not very easy to stray from it. Some departments may have funds that are restricted in what they can be used for and once that money is spent, there is no more funds available for projects until the next budget.

Sometimes a budget will run a surplus, excess funds, that can be moved to another fund, but this is not always the case.

Once again, some funds may be restricted and can only be used for a specific budget.

Many cities, not all of them, generate income from various taxes, licensing and permits, utilities, inspections, ticketing and citations.

They may also have fund appropriated to them for special projects like capital outlay. The income generated is then spent on the expenses of the different departments within the city or parish government.

An example of some expenses is wages and salaries, employee benefits, taxes, prisoner medical expenses, utility repairs, public safety and road maintenance.

Operating and maintaining a budget is not easy for anyone to do.

Especially when you are responsible for a multi-million dollar budget and yet have no money to take care of repeated problems and complaints.

Most elected officials campaigned with the intentions of making positive changes and to address the needs of the citizens.

Unfortunately when faced with the reality that there is no money available to fix the problems fast enough citizens feel they are not being heard and elected officials feel helpless.

The wheels of progress often turn slowly, with limited funds, they turn at a snail's pace and everyone suffers.