PA Council to take up tabled Veterans Day holiday

Published 4:07 pm Monday, January 11, 2016


A day to honor U.S. military men and women for their service to country has Port Arthur’s City Council at odds on whether to add Veteran’s Day to the city’s existing schedule of observed holidays.

At the request of Mayor Deloris “Bobbie” Prince, Council, at their regular meeting Tuesday, will consider adding a 10th holiday for employees to be able to observe on a day they are not required to come to work.

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The agenda item is leftover from a previous meeting when Council asked for more information before making a decision.

Prince said she initially placed the item on the agenda in an effort to honor veterans.

“I thought this would be a good way to honor all our military men and women who made it possible for us enjoy the liberties we have, and out of respect to our families who made sacrifices,” Prince said Monday.

District 5 Councilman Willie “Bae” Lewis voiced objections the first time the item appeared on the agenda, and he still has some of the same concerns.

“The problem is the police and fire. You have to man both departments, so this is automatic overtime for them, plus benefits,” Lewis said Monday.

If another holiday is added the police and fire department unions should have to negotiate another day off, Lewis said.

“If they want the Veterans Day they have to give something up,” Lewis said.

Since the December meeting when the Veterans Day item was initially considered, City Manager Brian McDougal has prepared a report addressing how much an additional holiday will cost the city.

According to McDougal, one-day payroll for the city of Port Arthur employees is $130,000, not including any overtime.

With the exception of city employees who have to work on those days to maintain continuity of city services such as water and sewer treatment, police and fire, there would be no additional cost to extending another holiday. There would be lost productivity, McDougal said.

Overtime costs for employees that have to work on holidays would equal approximately $14,000, McDougal said, while adding the amount was difficult to quantify.

“I am going to have a problem with that,” Lewis said “If it is going to cost the taxpayers additional money, then I am not just going to rubber stamp another holiday.”

Council will also consider approving a $1.5 million conditional grant from the city’s economic development corporation to Pure Renewables.

The company plans to locate at the Port of Port Arthur, where employees will process, treat and rejuvenate pre-consumer textile waste into cotton fiber commodities. The company plans to use the PAEDC grant to equip a retrofitted commercial warehouse located at the Port in order to manufacture cotton fiber from pre-consumer textile waste.

In turn, Pure Renewables during in the first four years of business operations will employee 216 Port Arthur residents for full-time and part-time jobs.

For the term of the agreement Pure Renewables shall have a total Port Arthur resident payroll of $17.6 million.

Council will also consider an ordinance prohibiting openly-carry handguns from City Council meetings, city boards and commissions meetings, other open meetings; municipal court and administrative court offices and polling places on Election Day or during Early Voting.

City Council will also consider:

  • Contracting with Municipal Code Corporation/MCCadvantage to process and mail water billing statements for a cost of $50,000
  • A $40,000 contract for the design and development of a new PAEDC website with Cornerstone Ad and Design of Beaumont for a cost of $20,000
  • Pre-employment training for 40 Port Arthur residents for the Commercial Driver Certification Program. Cost is $72,800
  • An occupational job training program to improve welding skill sets of individuals for jobs in high-demand occupations


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