- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

HOUMA, La. (AP) - A tax increase may not be necessary to pay for Terrebonne Parish public safety worker raises.

The Courier reports (https://bit.ly/1LINaNd) the parish council voted Tuesday to request that parish Chief Financial Officer Jamie Elfert look into rededicating more money from parish video poker and occupational tax revenues, which are already part of the public safety budget, to cover the cost of raises for Houma fire and police departments.

A subcommittee, which consisted of council members Christa Duplantis-Prather, John Navy, Greg Hood and Arlanda Williams, as well as representatives from the parish administration and Houma police and fire, decided an increase in a millage for public safety workers may not be necessary.

In a council committee meeting in April, public safety employee representatives requested an increase of 10 mills for higher pay.

“We think we can meet the need that the employees that both the fire department and police department have requested,” Williams said on behalf of the committee.

The subcommittee also requested a review of all parish employee salaries so possible raises across the board may be possible.

Councilman Daniel Babin was concerned that the money from occupational taxes and video poker may not be steady enough to sustain departmental raises.

“If in fact the occupational license money would go down then we would have to increase because it has to be from recurring revenue. I’m talking down the line,” Babin said. “I’ve learned a lot through this process that it has to be from recurring funds to give raises. I want to make sure that, if we do it, we do it right.”

Parish President Michel Claudet said he understands the emotion behind the push to raise officer and firefighter pay, but he said he needs more information before he can get behind rerouting money.

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Information from: The Courier, https://www.houmatoday.com

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