PORT ALLEN, LA (WAFB) - The Port Allen City Council approved an operating budget Wednesday, over six months after the plan was scheduled to take effect. The meeting did include a public hearing on the plan and members of council heard why some members of the public believe the proposed budget benefits higher paid city employees.
"A lot of the small people are still going to suffer under this proposal with what you got going now," said one resident.
Councilwoman Ray Helen Lawrence agreed saying high ranking administrative employees earn more than their counterparts in cities of similar size.
"It's just totally out of compliance with other cities our size are making," said Lawrence.
Councilman Hugh Riviere countered that each employee will be reviewed by Mayor Lynn Robertson and could potentially receive an even bigger pay hike.
"The mayor has the option to grant extra pay and extra increase to the lower earning employees if it's deserving," said Riviere.
The budget talk quickly shifted to the numbers after the public hearing as Chief Financial Officer Audrey McCain broke down the figures for council members. A unanimous vote to approve the budget followed and Councilman Brandon Brown says it's a big step forward for a city looking to turn the corner.
"We definitely have to keep the progressive mind frame or we will remain stagnant and continue to be the mess and drama when at the end of the day we don't need that," said Brown.
"It's a good feeling everybody worked together to get this done, hopefully something that can move this city forward and after all we can start spending money now," added Robertson.
The Port Allen budget goes into effect retroactive to July 1 and part of that plan is just over a two percent cost of living pay raise across the board for city employees.