LIVINGSTON — Livingston Parish justices of the peace and constables will receive their first salary bump in a decade if an ordinance introduced Thursday receives Parish Council approval next month.
The council unanimously supported introducing the measure, which would increase each official’s pay from $325 to $500 per month, effective June 1. The officials also receive a $100 per month supplement from the state.
The raise for the parish’s 10 justices of the peace and 10 constables would cost the parish an additional $42,000 per year, council members have said.
A public hearing on the proposed raises will be held June 25.
Councilman Delos Blackwell, who sponsored the ordinance, said he had received an email from Parish President Layton Ricks indicating the administration was OK with the increase. Ricks previously told the council the parish budget would support the new pay rate.
Jeff Sachse, justice of the peace in the Watson-area Ward 1, told the council earlier this month that surrounding parishes pay their officeholders significantly more. Ascension Parish pays $1,200 per month; St. Tammany, $700; Tangipahoa, $500; and St. Helena, $400, he said.
Sachse had urged the council to adopt the average of those parishes — $700 per month — as its new rate, but Councilman Marshall Harris said it is difficult to meet an average rate with parishes that have larger budgets than Livingston’s thrown into the mix.
In other business Thursday, the Parish Council tabled the introduction of an ordinance that would shift the timeline developers must follow when working on projects involving wetlands. The issue was kicked to committee instead.
Under the proposed ordinance, developers would have been required to submit a wetlands determination letter from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to the parish’s review engineer and planning director along with the final plat for the development.
Parish regulations currently require the developer to submit that information with the project’s preliminary plat, which must receive approval from both the Planning Commission and the Parish Council. Moving the requirement later in the process would place it beyond commission or council review — a prospect that made some council members uneasy.
Councilman Jim Norred said he believes the parish should require all other permits and approvals to be in place before a developer brings a project to the parish for review and approval.
Chad Bacas, the Planning Commission’s engineer, said the goal is to have the wetlands information before the parish accepts roads, utilities or servitudes within the development “so the parish doesn’t end up buying wetlands you don’t need.” But requiring that information so early in the process asks a lot of a developer who typically would not have construction plans yet, he said.
Councilman Ricky Goff said the parish should consider requiring developers to bring their final plats to the Planning Commission and Parish Council for approval, so both bodies can review the project at its final planning stages.
Follow Heidi R. Kinchen on Twitter, @HeidiRKinchen, and call her at (225) 336-6981.