By Carolyn Roy, firstname.lastname@example.org
The City is attempting to manage unexpected expenses and rising costs by changing its policy on accrued sick leave and vacation time. At the Council meeting Monday, an ordinance was introduced that will cut in half the amount of vacation and sick leave hours an employee can accrue. It will apply to employees hired effective June 1. Employees hired before that date will be subject to the old policy. Vacation time may be carried over and accumulated in subsequent calendar years. Beginning June 1, an employee will only be paid for up to 240 hours of accrued vacation time. The previous limit was 480 hours. The same applies for sick leave. When an employee retires, they will be paid for a maximum of 240 hours of accrued sick leave. Only employees who are retiring will be eligible to receive accrued sick leave pay.
City employees receive 12 days per calendar year of sick leave. Employees hired before June 1 are covered under the previous policy. Mayor Lee Posey said the change will help the City manage its costs and prevent unexpected major costs should an employee leave for reasons other than retirement. There was a final vote to allow Ricky and Sylvia LaCour to rezone a structure 336 Second St., from R-1 to R-1 Special Exception. Ricky LaCour said Hospice of Natchitoches will move administrative offices to that location. The council approved two resolutions.
The first will allow a change order of $74,170 by Axis Construction that is rehabilitating the raw water pump on Sibley Lake. It increases the contract cost from $784,000to $858,170. Director of Utilities Charles Brossette said the unexpected rise in the lake level plus old infrastructure raised the cost. The second resolution was to accept completion of the project. Director of Finance Pat Jones, during his report, said there is no explanation for the dip in sales tax collections during February.
The collections were down 6.7 percent from February a year ago. That amounts to $53,299 fewer dollars. But collections are up 2.63 percent year-to-date. One encouraging note is that vehicle sales were up 9 percent in February. Vehicle sales are an economic predictor since they are usually the largest purchase made, other than homes. The next City Council meeting will be Tuesday, May 29, one day after the usual meeting date that will be Memorial Day.