Zachary city government switches to 4-day work week

City government employees will switch from a five-day to a four-day work week beginning Aug. 1, Mayor David Amrhein told the City Council on Tuesday.

“We looked at four to five other cities that did it and they love it. The employees love it. The public loves it. They get one hour more in the morning and one hour later in the evening” to do business with the city, the mayor said.

He added that cities with four-day work weeks reported increased productivity.

The new hours for city offices will be 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays.

“To be honest with you, Friday after 12 (noon), the city just about dies anyway,” the mayor said.

With a new kiosk to be installed in front of City Hall, residents will able to pay their utility bills 24 hours a day using cash, credit or debit cards. The Aug. 1 start date will allow for the installation of the kiosk as well as for city employees to work out schedules with children attending school, the mayor said.

“If it doesn’t work out, we can always go back to five days,” he said.

Other matters the council considered included:

PLANTATION HOUSE: Chief Administrative Officer Chris Calbert told the council that the city is considering filing a form to allow $140,000 in state grant funds earmarked by the previous administration for improvements to the Annison Plantation House to be used for other purposes.

The money has been in the city’s possession for at least 18 months, but the city will lose the funds if it doesn’t use them, City Attorney John Hopewell said.

The antebellum home was given to the city in 2002 by owner Ethel Brabham Annison.

If granted by the state, the so-called Improbable and Impractical, or I&I, designation would allow the city to transfer the money to projects that the city deems more significant.

Calbert suggested that the funds could be better used to build a new water tower on the west side of town and to help with ongoing gas line improvements.

“We are in the process of trying to give the house back (to the owners),” the mayor said.

Hopewell said that since some of the heirs of the Annison property have died, the city is working to open dialogue with remaining heirs to decide what to do with the house.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: The council voted unanimously to appoint council members Tommy Womack and Brandon Noel to serve one-year terms on the city’s Economic Development Council starting July 1.

Councilman Francis Nezianya leaves the economic development panel July 1.