By Tina Montgomery
Pay raises for alderman were approved at the June 14, 2022 Dixie Inn council meeting but not without some concerns voiced by a citizen in the open session.
The ordinance increases alderman compensation from $350 to $550 per regular monthly meeting. Compensation for special meetings will increase from $50 to $150 but will not exceed one special meeting per month.
Dixie Inn resident Terry Stratton felt that the percentage raise increase was rather high.
“I’ve heard of 5 percent raises but never 50 or 60 percent raises,” he said. “That just sounds pretty steep. I don’t understand how you all came up with the number. It sounds self gratifying to me, especially for a poor village.”
Aldermen Lance Milligan and Judy McKenzie defended the proposed increases due to tax revenue received from the casinos and liquor stores in the Village as well as cost of living increases.
Mayor Donna Hoffoss explained the council wanted to raise compensation on par with Minden and Sibley, especially since it has been at least 4 years since any raises for the council had been implemented.
Stratton conceded to the council’s reasoning as public comments for the ordinance were closed.
Alderman Milligan said he would forfeit compensation if in the future the increase would negatively affect the Village. The council ultimately passed the ordinance unanimously to be effective July 1.
In other business, the Council adopted an ordinance to make June 19 a legal paid holiday.
Police Chief James Edwards raised concerns about how holiday pay would be made to an officer working the holiday. He questioned whether the holiday pay would be given on the actual date of June 19 as stated in the proposed ordinance or would pay be given on the date the State of Louisiana observed the June 19 holiday.
The council decided to adopt the ordinance as written this year, making the calendar date June 19 a paid holiday and amending the ordinance in the future to align with the state’s observed legal holiday.
Other agenda items which were passed unanimously included:
• Mayor Hoffoss to sign off the 2021 – 2022 audit engagement letter from Cook & Morehart; and,
• Adopting the Minden Press-Herald as the official journal for 2022.
The meeting closed with Water System Operator Mike Chreene reporting that he is still seeking estimates for the cost of replacing the fire hydrant near R&S Supply.
The Dixie Inn Council meets the second Tuesday every month.