Posted: Jul 29, 2013 10:57 PM by Steven Albritton
Updated: Jul 29, 2013 11:38 PM
City employees in Opelousas will continue to wait for a cost of living raise, even though the city council approved a 2.5% pay increase at Monday night's meeting. It all came down to money the city just doesn't have. Even though the council voted in favor of the raise the city employees did not get last year, the mayor said he will veto this measure.
"That 2.5% is $480 bucks that I didn't get this year," Opelousas employee Wilbert Levier said.
The bottom line comes down to the finances of the city. With only about $700,000 in surplus, according to the city's auditor, across the board raises would deplete that fund in 2 years if no additional revenue was added. This would leave no money for emergency situations and leaving the city to operate at a deficit.
"Where will the money come from? We have to have revenue to balance out the expenditures," Distict A Alderman Julius Alsandor said during the meeting.
Opelousas Police Chief Perry Gallow stepped to the podium and fought to get the raises for his staff. He says he's already lost 14 officers and will soon be losing another to the sheriffs department and better pay.
"The fact remains that employees have to feel appreciated. A cost of living increase that has not been exercised last fiscal year and again this year, it really creates an issue and a concern for me of employees who are going to seek employment elsewhere," Chief Gallow said.
The mayors veto will not become official until Tuesday but the board did vote to suspend the 2013-2014 2.5% raise but will not become official until the Civil Service Board meets.