Apr 14, 2014 20:36 Opelousas board considers reducing pay of next mayor, aldermen Opelousas board considers reducing pay of next mayor, aldermen Bobby Ardoin| Special to The Advocate April 14, 2014 Comments OPELOUSAS — An ordinance to reduce the salaries of the mayor and the Board of Aldermen by 7 percent was introduced by the board Tuesday. The Budget Committee recommended a pay cut of 5 percent to 10 percent last week and Alderman Blair Briggs said the 7 percent salary reduction was a sufficient compromise. The ordinance would cut the annual salary of Mayor Donald Cravins Sr. from $81,000 to $75,330. Aldermen would reduce their salaries from $20,649 annually to $19,204. The mayor’s salary is $72,000 per year. He also gets a $9,000 vehicle allowance. The board members receive a $350 monthly vehicle allowance. Alderman Reggie Tatum said he and other members of the board discussed their current pay with other city administrators recently. “What we found is some cities (the size of Opelousas) are paying more, while others pay less,” Tatum said. Cravins presented the board with his own proposal last month that placed the mayor’s base salary at about $60,000 annually and $13,900 for the aldermen. The Opelousas board has considered the issue for several months after Cravins said he felt the mayor and the board make too much money, considering the low salaries earned by some city employees and department heads. If the ordinance is approved at next month’s meeting, it would become effective until Jan. 1. The mayor and board are scheduled to run for re-election in November. Also Tuesday, aldermen approved the introduction of ordinance that creates an election redistricting plan proposed by demographer Mike Hefner. Hefner said at last month’s meeting that the four of the five election districts will undergo minor changes for the November election. None of the board opposed Hefner’s redistricting map during Tuesday’s meeting. Also the board voted without opposition to provide City Marshal Paul Mouton with a $17,000 used transportation van to bring people who have outstanding warrants to City Court. The reason for requesting the board to help him with the van purchase is the City Marshal’s Office has little revenue remaining in its budget, Mouton said. “Sometimes I’m picking up eight or nine people at the same time and we need three or four cars to pack them in,” said Mouton. Mouton said he has to execute about 200 outstanding bench warrants in cities such as New Orleans and Houma. The van, he said, can also be used for other municipal purposes, such as bringing individuals to veteran’s hospitals and transporting prisoners.