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Polk County Enterprise - Local News
Stories Added - June 2008
Copyright 2008 - Polk Count
y Publishing Company

City workers get 3.2% raise effective Oct. 1
Polk County Enterprise - June 2008

LIVINGSTON — City council members approved a 3.2 percent cost of living adjustment based on the same formula the city has used at the outset of the budget process for the 2008- 2009 fi scal year during the monthly meeting held Tuesday night. City Manager Marilyn Sutton told council members that the city has used the average of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the past 12 months to determine the cost of living increase. “For the past 12 months, the CPI averages to 3.2 percent,” Sutton said.

“The most recent four months are well above that: 4.4, 4.1, 4.3 and 4.1 percent for January through April 2008.” The cost of living increase will increase salary expenses by $90,000 for the year, according to Sutton. The city’s total payroll is $2.9 million per year. Sutton also advised the council that the city budget is accommodating the drastic increase in fuel costs, although the fuel line item is the largest expense for the month of May. The city made two bulk fuel purchases during May. The fi rst purchase was May 1 at $3.35 a gallon. A second purchase later in the month was $3.63 a gallon. In response to questions from council members, Sutton said every department head was making efforts to conserve fuel as much as possible.

The council also approved an annual request from Brazos Transit Rural Transit Program to provide public transportation by appointment in Polk County. The City of Livingston’s share remains the same as last year since the contribution is based on the percentage of Polk County’s population in the 2000 Census that lives inside the Livingston City Limits. Brazos Transit receives $35,000 from Polk County entities to assist residents with trans-portation to work and health care appointments as well as shopping and other errands. Users pay a fee for each trip. The City of Livingston provides $4,620 of that county total, Goodrich, Corrigan and Onalaska also contribute and the balance is made up from the county budget. Brazos Transit also has regularly scheduled trips to Lufkin health care facilities and other destinations commonly requested by users.

Council members amended the ordinance requiring employees to live within Polk County. The ordinance was adopted in 1984, before the bridge just downstream of the Lake Livingston dam was complete, and drastically shortened travel time between Coldspring and Livingston. That major route change means that San Jacinto County residents could reach Livingston faster than many Polk County residents, Sutton said. Individual departments have specific response time requirements based on individual job descriptions, Sutton explained. The amendment just gives the department heads the discretion to consider well qualified applicants that can meet the response time of the particular position for which they’re applying. “In this job market we need to include people that are physically closer to Livingston than some areas of Polk County,” Sutton said.

State law requires the City Manager and all city office holders to live within the city limits, Sutton added. Council members also voted to amend the city’s sign ordinance to ban off premise light emitting signs. City Attorney Gaffney Phillips told council members that a ruling from the Texas Department of Transportation in February required anyone seeking to install a light-emitting sign to provide proof that the city the sign is to be located in will allow the sign. The blanket ordinance banning all light-emitting signs would prevent city staff or officials from having to act individually on such requests.

The ordinance does not affect on-premise signs such as those at Jackson Square or Toni’s clothing store. The amendment would prevent the owner of the billboard at the corner of Church and Houston streets from adding a lighted time and temperature feature to that sign. The council voted to table a request from Ronald James Peavy to operate a limousine service in the city limits.

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