The roundabout at East Milton Avenue (La. 92) and Verot School Road is pictured Wednesday, April 3, 2019, in Youngsville, La.

Youngsville city employees are getting a 3% raise, and the mayor and police chief will also see a salary bump, thanks to better-than-expected sales tax revenue this year.

The planned annual raise for municipal employees was put on hold during budget hearings over the summer as the Youngsville City Council braced for lower revenues because of the pandemic.

"We were fortunate to be in this position where we're a third of the fiscal year in and ahead over 8% of our sales tax," said Youngsville Mayor Ken Ritter. "It's been a tough year for everyone, and when we did the budget, of course, we expected to be down."

Instead, the city has actually seen higher-than-average sales tax revenues in the months since the novel coronavirus was first detected in the region.

The Youngsville City Council approved over the summer a modest budget anticipating a 6% decrease in revenue for the fiscal year that started July 1. The coronavirus has not had as great of an economic impact as expected, however, with Youngsville revenues well above budget at 12% higher than this point last year.

The Youngsville City Council unanimously approved the raise during its regular meeting Thursday.

"I sincerely appreciate the recognition of them," Ritter said. "They've worked hard, with several hurricanes in addition to all of their regular duties, so I certainly appreciate that."

The raise is effective immediately for municipal employees, which also include those who work for the Youngsville Police Department and Youngsville Sports Complex.

Employees can expect to see the raise reflected on their next paycheck.

The Youngsville City Council also requested during Thursday's meeting to increase Ritter's salary from $78,000 to $82,000 per year and Youngsville Police Chief Rickey Boudreaux's salary from $75,000 to $82,000.

"We have, we believe, the best city. We're doing a lot of great things," said council member Ken Stansbury. "We need to pay these folks what they deserve."

Stansbury said the Youngsville mayor and police chief were at the bottom of the pay rate for their positions in Lafayette Parish prior to the raise.

"I agree with Stansbury and the rest of my council members," said Gary Williams. "It's long overdue." 

The mayor and police chief expressed gratitude for the council's suggestion and support.

"After looking at comparable ranges of pay for other municipalities, that pay rate puts us in the middle," Ritter said. "I think that's probably a good spot for us to be."

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