The Evangeline Parish Police Jury heard a proposal from Sheriff Eddie Soileau regarding the creation of a traffic devision in the sheriff’s office during its meeting Monday, March 16.
Soileau informed jurors his budget was “stretched to the limit” and his payroll expenses would soon be increased considerably due to the minimum wage increase that will take effect in July. He said his office has approximately 20 employees who receive minimum wage, and when the increase goes into effect, those employees will all receive pay increases.
When he took office as sheriff, Soileau said one of his ideas to create more revenue was the creation of a traffic division. This division would consist of two to three patrol units that would perform stops for traffic violations. Soileau proposed the sheriff’s office would keep 100 percent of the fines collected to fund the division and also bring additional revenue into the department. The program would benefit the police jury, he said, because they would receive all court costs associated with those citations.
Soileau added the traffic division would not be there to harass residents.
“We’re simply going to add a little more discipline to what we already have,” he said. “We will work with our people. We want to provide adequate service and be capable of paying adequate wages.”
The jury unanimously approved the proposal.
In other business, the jury:
•Scheduled a special meeting for Monday, March 23, at 6 p.m. to discuss applying for a grant to refurbish the water system in Industrial Park.
•Heard from Suzy Lemoine, who informed the jury there are still a lot of bricks waiting to be purchased as part of the fund raiser for the Evangeline Project.
•Learned of the Keep Evangeline Beautiful meeting and training session that will be held April 2, from 1 to 5 p.m. in the police jury meeting room. Juror Bryan Vidrine said all jurors are urged to attend and the event is open to the general public as well.
•Appointed Wilbur Thompson to the Te Mamou Water District to replace Francis Foret. Thompson’s appointment will expire December 10, 2010.
•Hired Bradley Ardoin as a part-time employee for Crooked Creek Recreational Park. Ardoin will be utilized as a grass cutter, according to Public Works Director Chester Granger.
•Heard the LSU AgCenter’s annual report. County Agent Keith Fontenot said the AgCenter is facing large budget cuts, to the tune of $19 million, which he said accounts for approximately 20 percent of the AgCenter’s entire budget.