Council discusses merit increase

Greg Fischer Editor-in-chief
Matthew Aguillard is honored by Mayor Arceneaux for earning Eagle Scout.

Matthew Aguillard was honored by the Gonzales City Council on Monday, December 11 for achieving the highest rank in the Boy Scouts of America: Eagle Scout. The council also recognized BASF for a donation to the Gonzales Fire Department used to purchase a CPR automator.

"This is a great piece of equipment for our citizens," Chief Tracey Normand said.

A stretcher was brought in the council room, but no demonstration was given. One would have to use their imagination. A representative of BASF Donovan Waguespack was on hand to speak of the benefits of the equipment.

Next, it appears Gonzales will soon adopt Donaldsonville's model of the Mayor's Youth Advisory Council. This is a leadership committee that serves as a bridge between the youth and the city council. Volunteer Coordinators Gwen Hilliard and Tamiko Garrison were present at the meeting along with most, if not all of the inaugural Gonzales MYAC.

Next, permit requests were granted for "Songs of Praise in the Park," hosted by United Methodist Church December 17 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. and for the "Marvelous Light Ministry Outreach" event on December 16, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Moreover, Barriere Construction was awarded the low bid for the Meylan Avenue/Municipal Park Project. The mayor and council were extra pleased with that move, which looks to save the city more than $430,000.

"Sneaux Day" was overall safe for the city. The council joked about not having to use their snow plow. The only problem reported was having to sand some of the highways because of icy conditions on Saturday night, December 9.

Last, the council discussed a 2.3 percent salary increase for the mayor and police chief but also a 25 percent pay increase to the council. Those adjustments would bring the total salary of the mayor to $126,838, the total salary of the police chief to $115,003. The council would see an increase of $200, going from $800 per month to $1,000 per month.

The city council has not raised the salary in 17 years; nor the mayor in seven years. The salary increase was said to be based upon merit, attributing Mayor Barney Arceneaux to the city's growth, better wastewater treatment, an 80 percent approval rating, and leading the state's municipal association. Chief Sherman Jackson was noted for maintaining the City of Gonzales as the fifth safest in Louisiana.

The salary increases will be voted on at the January 8 council meeting.