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Port Allen faces new fiscal year with old budget, problems

Photo provided by staff.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - 9:52pm

Port Allen city officials are preparing to go into the new fiscal year starting on July 1 without a new budget. The city council voted 3-2 against opening up public comment, which in turn meant the council could not vote on adopting the budget. While Port Allen residents say they were not surprised by the lack of progress some say the delay was a good thing.

"i'm glad to day was not the day it might cause some problems down the line," Rodger Payne, Port Allen resident, stated.

Payne felt Mayor Deedy Slaughter did not give the city council or the community enough time to really read through her version of the budget.

"Just discuss everything with everybody including the council," Payne said. "She has eliminated the council members."

The council members also could not come to an agreement on the proper procedures for developing, introducing,and adopting the budget. They had to agree on a plan before midnight on June 30, but Councilman R.J. Loupe Jr. says the council can't move forward because with the budget as is.

"I'm just telling you. I'm not going to put up with some of the stuff in the budget. Until the mayor sees that and understands that it's not going to happen," Loupe said.

The mayor's version of the budget included a 5 percent pay raise for employees making less than $40,000. It also includes a $40,000 salary decrease for the city's chief financial officer and a $20,000 pay decrease for the city's chief administrative officer.

Once again Port Allen city leaders walked away without making a decision on what to do with tax payers dollars this upcoming fiscal year.

"No consensus of the group. They can't decided on anything. They are in a disarray, and I'm totally tired of it," Councilwoman Ray Helen Lawrence described.

"We did not exceed as far as we thought we would," Marlene Doyle, Port Allen resident, stated. "Everything is being retracted to what happen last week and the week before last."

Still residents say the council and the mayor will have to eventually come together on the budget. They hope it happens sooner rather than later.

"The mayor created this problem, as far as I am concerned, and she needs to accept responsibility," Payne said.

"My words of encouragement to Mayor Slaughter is to stand tough and go on and tackle what ever hits you," Doyle stated.

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