The Metro Council at its meeting tonight will ask Mayor Kip Holden’s administration for an update on its plan to give Department of Public Works employees a pay raise. Councilwoman Donna Collins-Lewis says she will formally request a status report tonight, though the council will not discuss the matter until its March 11 meeting.
During budget negotiations late last year, several council members made a failed effort to secure DPW pay raises. At the time, the administration said there wasn’t enough money in the 2015 budget for the raises. However, the administration agreed to study the issue and said it hoped to present a plan by the end of the first quarter of 2015, Collins-Lewis says.
“We think by mid-March they should have something,” she says, adding that DPW employees are underpaid, overworked and deserve a raise.
“DPW workers are the lowest paid in the parish and they’re some of the hardest working,” Collins-Lewis says. “They haven’t had a raise in years and many of them have to work second jobs just to make ends meet.”
Chief Administrative Officer William Daniel did not return a call seeking comment by this morning’s deadline.
Also on the agenda for tonight’s meeting, council members John Delgado and Ryan Heck will ask the Finance Department to provide a report on tax-neutral options for funding a city mental health facility. Earlier this year, the council rejected Holden’s proposed bond issue, which would have raised money to finance a mental health assessment facility, a new jail and several other public safety projects.
The councilmen say they agree with the administration on the need for a city-parish mental health center that could provide around-the-clock services. But they also contend the city-parish administration did not do enough financial analysis before bringing the proposal to the council.
Also tonight, the council is expected to take up a request to authorize a rental car fee increase at Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport. The proposed increase, which would add several dollars to the cost of renting a car, would help pay for about $6 million worth of improvements to the 19-year-old parking garage.
The council convenes at 4 p.m. on the third floor of City Hall, 222 St. Louis St. See the full agenda.