The council plans to ask voters to back a $9.3 million bond issue, retired from utility revenue, to finance upgrades for the city’s sewer system in the upcoming Oct. 22 elections.
Under the city’s home-rule charter, voter approval is required to bond utility revenue for specific projects, and the State Bond Commission must approve the city’s proposal at its Aug. 10 meeting in order for the bond issue to be placed on the October election ballot. If voters approve the bond issue, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality will loan the money to the city at a 0.95 percent interest rate for 22 years.
The council will consider repaying the bonds by raising utility rates, which on average would increase gas rates by $6 per month, water rates by $9 per month and sewer rates by $7 per month.
In addition, the council voted to hire Jerry Osborne of Foley & Judell LLP as the bond attorney for the city.
In other business, the council heard from City of Zachary employee Denise Burdette regarding longevity pay for employees who work for the city for more than 20 years.
Burdette addressed the mayor and the council in a written letter, saying she finds it disturbing that city employees who work beyond the 20 – 25 year time frame are not considered for a raise under a longevity pay category.
“We’re looking at something that will benefit the entire [city] workforce for longevity pay,” Mayor David Amrhein told Burdette and the council.
Amrhein said he and members of his administration have begun researching how other municipalities handle longevity pay.
Also on the agenda was a proposed revision to the city’s Uniform Development Code regarding trash bin enclosures. The council voted 4 – 1 to accept a recommendation made by the Planning and Zoning Commission to require that businesses enclose large dumpsters with the same material used on their buildings.
Councilman Tommy Womack voted against the measure, saying the city should lead by example.
“We’re going to need to talk about finding some money to [enclose] our dumpsters if this is what we’re going to do,” Womack said of the decision.
The council also entered into an executive session Tuesday to discuss the city’s five-year contract with Redflex Traffic Systems. Councilman Coghlan asked to table the Redflex agenda item until additional information could be obtained.
The next meeting of the Zachary City Council will be held Tuesday, July 26.