Baker council to discuss water rates, sales tax deficits

The City Council has scheduled two special sessions to discuss water rates and the half-cent sales tax for police and firefighters.

The sessions are set for 11 a.m. Sept. 4 and Sept. 25 and will include a financial update of the city’s Public Works Department.

Mayor Harold Rideau said Tuesday the work sessions will cover deficits.

The half-cent sales tax fund supplements police and firefighter salaries and equipment, but it has been running deficits the general fund has had to cover.

The general fund, however, is running out of surplus funds.

Council member Joyce Burges said the sessions should bring about “huge conversations.”

On another matter, the council passed two ordinances in an effort to collect money owed from a demolishing condemned house and clearing private property of weeds, debris, junk and refuse.

The debts owed to the city will be placed on the property tax rolls, rather than as liens against the property.

City Attorney Ken Fabre said it is difficult at times to collect the money owed the city simply by putting a lien on the property.

Council members said they do not know how much money is on the books in uncollected liens, but Councilman Norman “Pete” Heine said he believed there are thousands of dollars in uncollected liens going back from the time when he was mayor.

Another ordinance passed by the council makes it unlawful for emergency supplies to be sold by individuals during times of officially-declared emergencies. The supplies include tarpaulins, bottled water and sandbags, Burges said.

The council also passed a resolution opposing a proposed landfill on Brooklawn Drive, located 4.5 miles from Baker.

Heine said two landfills already are near Baker and they affect every resident of the city and could cause long-term harm to families in the area.