(Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Friday, June 06, 2014 12:21 PM
LAKE ARTHUR — Full-time town employees will see a cost-of-living increase under a proposed budget introduced Tuesday by the town council.
A final vote on the budget is set for 6 p.m. July 2. If approved, the new budget, which takes effect Aug. 1, will include $3.2 million in general fund revenues and $1.6 million in expenses.
“This is a responsible budget,” Mayor Robbie Bertrand said. “It uses reoccurring revenues so that we don’t have to pull off of investments that much.”
The proposed budget includes a 2 percent pay raise for the town’s nearly two dozen full-time employees. It also includes a nearly 85 percent pay raise approved in March for the next mayor and aldermen.
Municipal elections will be Nov. 4, with new terms of office beginning January 2015.
No pay raise is included for the police chief or town clerk; they were given raises last year, Bertrand said.
The budget includes funding to tear down and replace dilapidated picnic pavilions and other structures in the town’s park. “We have some structures in the parks there are in terrible shape,” Bertrand said.
The town has applied for a $250,000 to $500,000 grant from the Louisiana Land and Water Conservation Fund to replace or renovate those structures, he said.
The town has also applied for $300,000 in capital outlay funding to help overlay streets. The money will be used along with a penny sales tax, 80 percent of which has been reallocated for a street-paving project, he said.
An additional $100,000 from the Jeff Davis Parish Landfill Commission will go toward the street project. “We will pave as we generate the funds,” Bertrand said.
Additionally, money has been allocated to continue to operate the flood control structure on Third Street and to maintain drainage throughout town.
Money is also targeted for sewer system repairs on the east side of town to help with infiltration of rainwater after heavy rains.
The budget also includes funds for some sidewalk repairs, new equipment and vehicle for the Police Department, a used Bobcat on tracks for the street department, and to maintain water lines and fire hydrants.