Sanitation workers calling out sick to protest their wages has the Shreveport City Council pondering what to do in response. The sick outs come at a time when city department heads are formulating their budgets.
Councilwoman Rose Wilson McCulloch believes all city workers, including sanitation workers, deserve a raise, and would even be willing to propose a trash collection fee to make it happen.
Councilman Sam Jenkins isn’t so sure.
"I think everybody wants to see all of our city employees receive a pay increase but there's a lot that goes into that discussion, starting with the necessary funds to do it,” said Jenkins.
Councilman Michael Corbin said it’s highly unlikely for 2015.
"Based on everything I know about the budget right now, where the 2014 budget stands and numbers that we anticipate for the 2015 budget, it's going to be difficult to look at a significant pay raise,” said Corbin.
Councilman Ron Webb said he believes city workers deserve a raise, during a phone conversation with NBC 6 Wednesday.
Councilman Oliver Jenkins would like employees to show him where cuts can be made to afford the raises.
“I don’t think our budget supports a raise for all city workers but I’d entertain where employees feel there’d be reductions either in capital expenditures or equipment to pay for all the raises,” said Oliver Jenkins.
Councilman Jeff Everson and Chairman Joe Shyne did not return our phone calls.
According to Dale Sibley in the mayor’s office, a six percent raise for classified workers would cost the city $2.5 million. The last time city workers received a cost of living adjustment was in 2011 and 2012, and the last time they received a merit raise was in 2008, according to Sibley. Sibley believes giving city workers a raise would force the city to cut elsewhere, including cutting things, people, or not adding money to the reserves. He said a trash collection fee of $24 would generate about $19 million for the city. But, Sibley said the mayor would not support allocating the money solely to the Public Works department. He said if a trash collection fee is instated, the funds would have to benefit all city departments.