Many city-parish workers upset over budget
BATON ROUGE - Some city-parish workers are upset that pay increases for them were left out of Mayor Kip Holden's 2014 budget for Baton Rouge.
The $800 million budget includes money for police vehicles, new police officers and new firefighters, but doesn't address the issue of underpaid city-parish workers.
The 2014 budget only includes 3 percent merit and longevity raises for some city-parish workers. A recent pay study suggests that city-parish workers are vastly underpaid but do receive above average benefits.
District 7 Councilwoman C. Denise Marcelle says it's disheartening that the city-parish workers were left out.
"A lot of them have two jobs and I just don't see that as being realistic fro people to have to work two jobs in order to get one salary," she said.
Marcelle says the Metro Council could still move around money in the budget to give city-parish workers pay raises.
"I feel like we should be able to find a little over a million dollars to give the DPW workers raises. Do I believe everybody in the city-parish deserves raises? Yes. But they are the most underpaid people in the city-parish, and I think we must start to do something about it and we must start now," she said.
Other council members like District 12 Councilman John Delgado feel it's too late to work pay raises into the 2014 budget.
"Well it's a shame that they didn't get the pay raises in this budget, but that's still not the reason to go in at the last minute and inject them into the budget. To do so would be irresponsible," he said. "We can't just move money from one pot in the budget to put to another just to make people happy. We have to do this responsibly, because ultimately it's the taxpayers money."
The Metro Council will vote on the proposed budget in December.