Changes to Zachary’s department considered

The City Council agreed Tuesday to take the first steps toward the possible reorganization of city government.

The proposal calls for creating a separate department to handle gas and water billing, and splitting the public works from the utility department.

A public hearing will be held at 6 p.m. Jan. 6.

Public Works Director Chris Davezac oversees both the public works and utilities departments. The proposal calls for Davezac to remain public works director and for two new co-directors to run the utilities department. Employees the mayor plans to put in the new positions are already retired and work on contract with the city. They would receive salaries of $70,000 each with no benefits.

Mayor David Amrhein said the goal of the changes would be to increase accountability, efficiency and training.

Utilities co-directors would be responsible for training new employees as well as overseeing the department, he said.

Other business before the council included:

HOUSE NUMBERING: The council discussed making the house numbering system in the city more consistent and also forcing residents to post the numbers, either on their houses or by the road.

Traditionally, houses with four-digit addresses were inside the city and those with five digits were outside, Police Chief David McDavid said.

With new land annexations by the city, that system no longer works and in some parts of town, numbers change from four to five digits along a single road.

The inconsistent numbering makes it difficult for emergency personnel to find houses, McDavid said.

The city can compel citizens to change their house numbers, city attorney John Hopewell said.

The council agreed to form a committee to look into the problem.