Jury’s 2001 budget includes raises for parish employees

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 12, 2000

VIDALIA, La. – Christmas came early for the Concordia Parish Police Jury.

On Monday, the jury adopted a 2001 budget that includes $1-per-hour raises for the jury’s 23 employees and enough money to give the jurors themselves a $344-a-month raise.

&uot;That doesn’t mean that we (jurors) are going to take that&uot; raise, jury President Charlie Blaney following the jury’s approval of a budget of more than $3.8 million. &uot;It just means we can.&uot;

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&uot;It doesn’t mean it’s going to take place,&uot; said Finance Committee Chairman Randy Temple, referring to jurors’ possible raises. &uot;But the money is there, that’s not a problem.&uot;

Jurors now make $856 a month. In January, the jury voted to raise the maximum salary they could receive to $1,200, the maximum allowed under state law.

No jurors took that raise this year due to budget constraints, and no one – except Juror Gene Allen – has said they will take the raise. But severance and ad valorem tax revenues have surpassed expectations in the last half of 2000. And Secretary-Treasurer Robbie Shirley said the jury did a good job of controlling expenses to get the budget in better shape.

Jurors, when asked by resident Barry Maxwell how they would justify raising their salaries, pointed out that the budget also includes $175,000 more for public works equipment and $100,000 more for road improvement materials.

The jury voted to hold a Jan. 8 public hearing on a proposed animal control ordinance like those already in place in parish towns like Vidalia and Ridgecrest.

It also voted to, once that ordinance is in place, approve the formation of a non-profit corporation that would establish a parishwide animal shelter and would operate under the auspices of the jury.

Juror Cathy Darden referred to an attorney general’s opinion that said law enforcement must seize stray dogs and each parish must have a place to house the dogs.

&uot;But the sheriff doesn’t have the manpower&uot; to seize dogs, Allen said.

Later in the meeting, Juror Willie Dunbar proposed that Recreation District No. 3 board members Catherine Cartwright and Mary Lee Cubie be removed from the board because &uot;they won’t work along with me.&uot;

Dunbar, who represents part of the district’s coverage area, said the board failed to make improvements to recreational facilities in south Vidalia, improvements he had requested earlier this year.

But the motion to remove Cartwright and Cubie died for lack of a second.