There was an awkward moment toward the end of the Parish Council meeting Monday night, March 20, as Patsy Ward Hoover had to withdraw an item she added to the agenda asking the Council to consider introducing Ordinance 005-2017 for a 3 percent cost-of-living raise for Parish employees.
It seemed like a valiant effort, until Parish Treasurer Debbie Miley said there was no money in the 2017 budget to accommodate the raise. Miley referred to another agenda item where the Council voted to keep the mileage’s for the Parish the same instead of rolling them forward (SEE DOCUMENT BELOW).
When Hoover questioned why the employees didn’t receive the raise last year Parish President Rick Nowlin said it was a decision he made after speaking to the department heads. Certain things happened last year that put a stress on the budget. Nowlin said that while he has an obligation to the Parish employees, he also has a fiduciary obligation to the citizens in the Parish.
“I value the employees,” he said. “But I have to consider the overall impact on the budget.”
He added that the thought of adding the 3 percent raise into the 2017 budget was not only bad timing with over 9 months of the year left, but he was concerned where the money would come from.