Denham Springs — After months of preparation, the Denham Springs City Council on Monday swiftly approved the fiscal year 2016 budget.
No one spoke during a public forum preceding the adoption, and the council did not discuss the budget before unanimously passing the plan, minus absent members Jeff Wesley and Chris Davis.
The new budget does not include any raises for city employees, though Mayor Gerard Landry told reporters after Monday’s meeting he would like to offer raises as soon as next year, possibly to the tune of 3 percent increases, which they received last year.
The city also chose to restart its municipal mosquito abatement program as the parishwide program shuts down.
“We have to take care of our people,” the mayor said.
The council also accepted the final version of its 2015 budget Monday, again without public comment or discussion from members.
Highlights from the past year included repaving River Road and preparations for widening Maple and Julia streets, two projects that will conclude in the current fiscal year.
In the past year the city also improved its animal control facility, including the construction of an isolation unit for potentially sick new arrivals. The city also absorbed some of the cost for the construction of a new parking lot at the parish Council on Aging and for the creation of the Centerville pocket park.
Additionally, the city spent about $10,000 to study a potential new public park and Amite River boat launch off 4-H Club Road at the site of a former landfill. Landry said the site has been deemed safe for construction and may one day include walking trails and possibly an RV park, but it’s too early to know all the specifics.
The City Council also took time Monday to recognize the Denham Springs Police Department Motorcycle Unit. Last week, the four-man team traveled to Biloxi, Mississippi, and competed with 63 riders from three states in a variety of challenges, winning several competitions. Cpl. Clifton Brown was named Mr. Rodeo, the term for the overall winner at the Mississippi Police Officers’ Association Motorcycle Training Competition.
Several Louisiana law enforcement departments competed, including the Iberville Sheriff’s Office, West Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office and Pineville Police Department, Brown said.
“I just want to honor them for their diligence,” Chief Scott Jones said.
“My guys … work hard.”
Contests include running a twisting, zigzagging course as quickly as possible, then running the same course without brakes. In one competition, team members are tethered together and must ride side by side without breaking the Velcro binding them. In another, the officers must ride as slowly as possible without putting their feet down to simulate riding through a crowd or patrolling a parade, Brown explained.
“It’s tricky, tricky,” the corporal said.
“It’s fun, you know. It keeps us on our toes.”
Follow Steve Hardy on Twitter, @SteveRHardy.