St. Helena to weigh sheriff’s request for more office space

St. Helena Parish Sheriff Nathaniel Williams has requested use of unoccupied office space in the St. Helena Parish Health Unit, but the Police Jury said it won’t vote on the issue until more information is gathered.

Williams told the jury Tuesday night that the Sheriff’s Office needs more space and wants to use the north end of the health unit to house the Sheriff’s Office’s juvenile, criminal and civil divisions, which employ about 40 people.

The Sheriff’s Office is renting an additional building for the three divisions, he said, but the structure does not meet the necessary codes.

Juror Major Coleman questioned the sheriff’s request.

“Some of our agencies need space; they are outgrowing themselves,” Coleman said. “Go back, figure out how much space you need, and we can see how much we have available.”

Other items discussed during the meeting included:

PAY RAISE: The jury approved without a dissenting vote a pay raise for an employee despite consistent efforts to cut back on parish spending in light of budget shortfalls.

The jury agreed during its meeting Tuesday to give Orlando Robertson, a tractor operator in District 1, a $1 per hour pay raise. This amount, which brings Robertson’s pay up to match the compensation of other operators, will be taken out of a maintenance fund, Juror Thomas Wicker said.

Juror Theodore McCray Jr., said the jury approved this particular increase because it is coming out of a fund that is separate from the Police Jury’s budget.

INDUSTRIAL PARK: The Police Jury was notified that a vacant building at the St. Helena Industrial Park adjacent to La. 37 was vandalized two weeks ago and sustained costly damage. This was the second time the building has been vandalized, Secretary-Treasurer Sharonda Brown said.

James Chaney, parish maintenance supervisor, said the glass door was broken, some windows were shattered and the hot water heater was stolen. When the water heater was removed, the floor flooded with water 3 inches deep, causing an outbreak of mold, he said.

Chaney said the wallboard, carpet, front door and windows will need to be replaced. He did not say how much the repairs would cost.