The effects of the ordinance will greatly increase the workload of the utilities and public works departments, thus increasing overtime pay expenses, Rideau said.
This in turn will cause a significant reduction of revenue for the city and adversely impact the budget, he said.
The only changes that were agreed on as being prudent and in the best interest of all citizens were a reduction in late penalties from $60 to $50 and no additional deposit upon reconnection, Rideau said.
Now the ordinance reduces late penalties from $60 to $30. Reconnection fee remains $25. The deadline to pay would be extended from the close of business one day to the start of business the next day, giving delinquents overnight to pay their late bills.
Utility workers are already working until midnight on overtime to handle cut-offs, then cut-ons after the bills are paid. Customers must be present so workers can enter homes to relight gas pilots. The changes mean customers will be without utilities overnight, Julie McCulloch, director of public works, said.
Vincent admitted that reconnections may take “several days.”
In other business:
APPOINTMENT: Governor Bobby Jindal appointed Baker Police Chief Mike “Snapper” Knaps to a committee studying school situations. Knaps will represent the Louisiana Association of Police Chiefs on the committee.
PRAYER BREAKFAST: Chairman Danny Edwards reported that Coach Jerry Stovall will speak at the June 28 event.
RECOGNITIONS: Councilwoman Joyce Burges recognized the Stages accounting firm for its years of outstanding service to Baker. The four queens of the Baker Buffalo Festival were also recognized.
Police Sgt. Keon Washington was honored by Knaps with the Lifesaving Merit Award and a certificate from Burges for his heroic deed on Jan. 4 in carrying a paraplegic man to safety from his smoke-filled burning home at 5102 Tristian Ave.
NEXT MEETING: The council will next meet at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013.