Jefferson Parish panel to consider raising minimum wage for parish employees _lowres

Jefferson Parish Councilman Mark D. Spears

Jefferson Parish’s Personnel Board will be presented next week with the results of a study on whether it would be feasible to raise the minimum wage for parish workers by $1.72 an hour.

Parish Councilman Mark Spears last month won passage of a resolution requesting the study.

Using a formula developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Spears said the minimum “living wage” for a single adult living and working full time in Jefferson Parish should be $10.51 per hour. The lowest wage that the parish’s classified employees earn now is $8.79 an hour.

According to the parish, 222 of its workers make less than $10.51 an hour.

The formula Spears used to come up with that figure takes into account local food, housing, child care, health care, transportation and tax costs.

A discussion of the study’s results is listed on the agenda for the Personnel Board’s meeting at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Joseph S. Yenni Building in Elmwood.

Spears has said raising the minimum wage for parish workers could be a small part of the solution to sagging sales tax revenue in Jefferson.

“You want to reward people who are here and working,” he said. “When people have a few more dollars, they spend those dollars.”