VACHERIE — The St. James Parish Council agreed Wednesday to delay taking any action on increasing the salaries of the parish’s 14 justices of the peace and constables.
Council members tabled the topic until after Parish President Timmy Roussel presents his proposed fiscal year 2015 budget at the Nov. 5 meeting and until the Parish Council holds its annual budget review meeting.
At the heart of the issue is whether the parish can afford the salary increases, especially with the construction of a multipurpose and recreation building in Welcome Park in the community of St. James, Councilman Jason Amato said.
In April, Fifth District Justice of the Peace Trina Moll asked the Parish Council for raises for herself and other justices of the peace and constables. They have not had a raise since 2006, she said.
Constables make $400 per month and justices of the peace make $450 per month, officials have said.
Amato, who serves on a committee formed to examine the issue, said those officials had previously sought health insurance but because the position is a part-time job, no benefits will be given to them.
Amato said he had looked at the salaries neighboring parishes pay constables and justices of the peace and found St. James Parish’s salaries “competitive” if population and other factors are taken into account.
In other business, Councilman Jimmy Brazan asked the council to consider hiring a consultant to examine the parish’s new land use plan.
Brazan said he believed the land use plan, passed earlier this spring, is good but he wants an outside opinion to make recommendations to improve it if needed.
Brazan specifically brought up the land use plan’s requirement of a 2-mile buffer zone to separate industrial areas from residential and commercial areas and schools, possibly adjusting the zone depending on the industry.
Brazan was the only councilman to vote against denying Wolverine Terminal Corp.’s permit application to build a $30 million crude oil terminal and blending operation along River Road in Paulina.