St. Martinville council to approach idea of Juneteenth holiday for city employees again

The St. Martinville City Council will revisit its discussion of replacing one of the city’s current observed holidays with a Juneteenth holiday for city employees.

At its last meeting, the council directed the administration to poll all city employees to determine which of the 14 city holidays would be exchanged for the Juneteenth holiday.

Mayor Pro Tem Craig Prosper had initially said he would only support the substitution if city employees gave up two holidays in exchange for the new celebration. Most businesses celebrate 10 paid holidays, almost a full week less than St. Martinville city employees receive.

Also on the agenda is a request from District 4 Councilman Juma Johnson to revisit a cost cutting measure put in place last month to eliminate after-hours call outs for city sewage workers. The embargo on the call outs was one of several austerity measures put in pace in June as the city struggled to bring its proposed budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year into balance. The city faced a deficit of nearly $500,000 in the weeks prior to the budget’s adoption.

The debate over the call out service was a contentious one. Prosper has made the case previously for limiting the service, which he said no other municipalities provide for lines beyond the property line of the homeowner. He also said the excessive use of city labor and time for several repeat customers had cost the city handsomely in overtime and materials.

“If you have a problem after hours, you call a plumber,” Prosper said.

Johnson and District 5 Councilman Edmond Joseph argued that many residents could not afford to call out a professional plumber and instead relied on the city’s policy.

The St. Martinville City Council will meet at 6 p.m. Monday in the city council meeting room of city hall, 120 New Market St. in St. Martinville.

Dwayne Fatherree is the community editor for The Daily Iberian. He can be reached at dwayne.fatherree@daily-iberian.com.

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