LaFayette may cut costs by not replacing LaFayette Police Department employee

Published 11:00 am Saturday, January 29, 2022

At a work session on Monday, the LaFayette City Council discussed ways to cut costs and increase revenue for the city’s budget.

At the start of the meeting, the council focused on employment within the LaFayette Police Department. An employee had recently left, leaving an open position.

Councilmember Michael Ellis argued that the police department had more people working the day shift than most police departments its size.

“A city our size, 2,600 people, 2,700, whatever it is…” he said. “When you look at it during the day, during the week, I’m just saying — chief, captain, two investigators, that’s four. The school resource officer, five. Code enforcement, he’s certified. That’s six.”

Ellis argued that the position left behind didn’t need to be filled.

Mangram said he asked LaFayette Police Chief George Rampey if he could get by without replacing an open slot this year. According to Mangram, Rampey said he could.

Davidson said that at some point, the city needs to look at how it’s operating and if it can continue to operate as it has in the past.

Because cities vary in size, he said LaFayette shouldn’t necessarily imitate Lanett and Valley.

“Even with the drug task force officer, each entity puts an officer into the drug task force, and we pretty much pay for that individual’s salary,” Davidson said. “And we get reimbursed up to a certain amount for overtime. It’s easier for, say, Lanett or Valley to afford to send an officer that’s never in their cities as opposed to us to be able to send an officer that’s never in our city.”

On Friday, Vines said he thinks the police department has about 10 or 11 officers and said their average salary is “$16 and something an hour.”

In the packets given to the council members at the meeting were drafts of a cemetery ordinance and a potential sales tax increase by City Attorney Joseph (Mac) Tucker.

Mangram said replacing deeds would hypothetically cost $100, while unattended graves would result in a $200 fine. Councilmember T.

Shannon Hunter asked what was meant by unattended graves. Mangram said that as far as he understood, the term referred to graves people had dug and left open.

Later on, Mangram suggested that LaFayette police should check to make sure businesses were licensed. Davidson said he’d talk to the code enforcement officer about it.

When the conversation turned to water and sewer rates, Hunter said there were different things to consider — connection and tap fees, the amount of water used.

Later, Ellis said the council needed to come up with plans on how to use funds from the American Rescue Plan Act.