Aldermen consider officer contract with school district
Published 7:00 am Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Tuesday, the Poplarville Board of Aldermen discussed a number of routine topics, including the waste disposal rate for residents and businesses located outside the city limits, set a public hearing to discuss the fiscal year 2017 budget and the contractual agreement between the city and Poplarville School District regarding the services of the Poplarville Police Department during the school district’s sports and special events.
During the last meeting, the Board raised the residential garbage collection rates for households within city limits to cover the cost of the recent rate increase from Waste Management. The monthly cost per household increased from $13.82 to $15, according to previous coverage.
The current residential and commercial rate for household and businesses located outside city limits is $15.85 per household or business. The Board approved to increase that rate to $16 per month.
In another matter, prior to the adoption of the fiscal year 2017 budget, the city must hold a public hearing. This will provide members of the community an opportunity to comment on the proposed budget.
The budget hearing will be held on August 23 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the boardroom at City Hall.
In another matter, the Board discussed the contract between the city and the Poplarville School District regarding payment of the city’s police officers for sports and special events.
Poplarville City Attorney Nick Thompson said, as it stands now, police officers working school events are paid by the city. If they incur overtime, they are paid their normal overtime rate, he said. The contract states that the school district will reimburse the city $25 per hour for events.
Poplarville Police Chief Butch Raby suggested that the officers turn in their time sheets to the school district, who could pay the officers directly, leaving the “city out of the loop.”
Poplarville City Clerk Jane O’Neal said they may have run out of time to discuss that option with the district. She also explained that the school district now requires them to be billed quarterly.
With that option, the school district would become the employer and each employer is responsible for an employee’s overtime hours, Thompson said.
“There’s very little chance these officers would get more than 40 hours per week working these events,” Thompson said.
He also said it places “the accounting and workers’ compensation burden on the city.”
Poplarville Alderwoman Shirley Wiltshire said they’ve always used officers who worked a “short week,” to minimize the chance of overtime.
The Board agreed to discuss the contract further with the school district, but the first football game will be held on August 12, before the next Aldermen meeting.
The Board approved a motion to provide services to the school district until the contract is signed.
In other action:
• Poplarville Fire Chief Jonathan Head told the Board that they’ve tested 183 of the city’s 230 hydrants. He also reminded the Board that peak hurricane season is here and recommends plans to be set in place if such an event occurs.
• Raby also reminded the Board that school begins today and officers will be patrolling, running radar and “slowing some folks down.”
• The Board approved a motion to remove the following statement from page 3 of the city’s Personnel Policies and Procedures manual, “Vacation credit earned by an employee may be transferred to another employee subject to statutory limitations thereof.” O’Neal said she had recently received a request from a police department employee to transfer hours. She provided an example to the Board, “If John Doe wanted to donate eight hours, then it would have to be charged to his time and give it to someone else who hasn’t legally accrued it.” Transfer of the hours could lead to possible accounting and legal ramifications, she added. This will take effect on October 1, which will give the Board time to give employees a sufficient 30-day notice of the change.
The next Board meeting will be held on August 16 at 5 p.m. in the boardroom at City Hall.