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Rayne City Council OKs $8,000 raise for Police Chief

RAYNE - A number of action items took precedent Monday evening during the August meeting of the Rayne City Council.
Taking top interest during the meeting was a proposed amendment to the city ordinance setting the compensation of the Chief of Police. The proposal included a $12,000 annual pay increase from $53,000 to $65,000.
A public hearing on the subject included discussion from a variety of speakers, including a number of Rayne Police Department officers. Police Chief Carroll Stelly also made his appeal, presenting a comparison of salaries of police chiefs from the surrounding area and an outline of the progress his department has made during his 12 and one-half years as police chief.
After the public hearing was closed, Council members discussed the proposed raise. All agreed a raise was warranted, but conceded that their constituents felt it was “too much of an increase at one time.”
Lendell “Pete” Babineaux offered a compromise, raising the chief’s salary by $8,000 annually to $61,000. The Council voted 4-1 to approve Babineaux’s proposal.
Joining Babineaux in approving the compromise were Curtrese Minix, Calise “Michael” Doucet and James “Jimmy” Fontenot. Kenneth Guidry cast the lone vote in opposition.
Mayor Charles “Chuck” Robichaux added, “The Council appreciates all the city’s police department does for our city, not only by protecting us, but with everything they provide in the way of services, especially the DOC program.”
Three other ordinances were introduced during the meeting, including:
• to regulate the sale or distribution of food in the city of Rayne;
• amend the City of Rayne’s 2018-2019 budget; and
• an operating budget of revenues and expenditures for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, and ending Sept. 30, 2020.
New business approved by the Council included:
• monthly financial update presented by City Clerk Annette Cutrera;
• 2019 property tax adjustments for the tax year 2018 totaling $171.33; and
• the declaration as surplus of a wireless Brother printer and a Stanley Bostitch electric stapler.
Four demolition projects or written communications were presented for action by City Inspector Mark Daigle, including:
• 803 Reynolds, house given 90 days for demolition;
• 1104 Margaret, given 120 days to demo remaining structure and clear property;
• 406 N. Marie, 90 days to demolish; and
• 410 Seventh Street, 30 days to demolish.
The Council approved the Planning and Zoning Board’s recommendation for a variance requested by Scott Menard to build a storage building at 610 N. Cunningham, as presented by Daigle.
Tim Mader presented the engineer’s report, including one item presented to the Council for action, a resolution authorizing the mayor to execute any and all agreements and related documents for the state project of the Rayne Sidewalks Phase III including South Adams Avenue from the railroad to the intersection with East South First Street.
Following discussion of the Phase III resolution, along with an update of Phase II (North Adams from Edwards to Harrop streets), the Council approved the resolution.
Jeff Duhe addressed the Council in regards to the upcoming 2020 census, and State Reps. John Stefanski and Bob Hensgens gave a synopsis of the recently completed session. More on these three speakers and their presentations will be included in next week’s edition.
The final subject was the announcement by Robichaux of a live town hall meeting to be held Tuesday, Aug. 20, at The Crossing at Mervine Kahn by Congressman Clay Higgins. The public is invited attend and participate in the free event.

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