Will Port Allen have a 2013 budget before July 1st deadline?

PORT ALLEN, LA (WAFB) - In a reversal, there was relative calm at the Port Allen town council meeting compared to weeks past.

There was also bad news for the town budget and a mayor who grabbed the upper hand in an ongoing political tug of war.

A hefty police presence kept watch over Wednesday night's packed council meeting.

"What the government going to do for the citizens of Port Allen? Not for all this mess going on here. It's time to take care of the city," said a Port Allen resident.

Port Allen Mayor Deedy Slaughter is in the middle of a two-front war: with battles now in the public and legal arenas.

Wednesday, council members took note of a check worth $3,461 Slaughter wrote to her lawyer defending her for allegedly violating a court order.

"I don't see where the city as a whole is being represented. It's the mayor who's being represented. The taxpayer should not have to foot the legal bills incurred by the mayor by her actions of disobeying a Feb. 20th court order by a district judge," said Council Member Hugh "Hootie" Riviere.

But Mayor Slaughter said the bills are coming out of a fund specifically designed for the city's legal troubles.

"There's $9,999 there for litigation," said Slaughter.

They passed a resolution 3-1, with Mayor Pro-Tem Ray Helen Lawrence abstaining from voting, which is basically the council's opinion that the mayor should not use the city's tax dollars to fund a private lawyer.

The next item dealt with Mayor Slaughter's recent veto of five specific job titles within city government being named as department heads. The council needed a 4-1 vote to override her veto, but, it was the same vote from the first time around: 3-2 - meaning the override attempt failed.

The city's 2013 budget goes into effect July 1st. Wednesday, the mayor presented her spending plan to the council, but there's a problem.

"There was no motion, no second to introduce the budget, therefore there was no vote to introduce the budget," said CFO Audrey McCain.

Instead, she handed out a paper copy and said a special meeting to vote on the budget would be in two weeks on June 26th. So formally, officials say the budget has not been introduced before the council.

Mayor Slaughter ended the meeting by letting down her guard and gave a rare glimpse of her true feelings.

"It's like I been witch hunt since day one. I been fighting accusations and accusations," said Slaughter. "So did I divide the city? No, the city was divided before I even step foot to the office. It was already divided when former mayor Bergeron made some decision in his term to hire a convicted felon."

In the mayor's 2013 budget, she is proposing reducing CFO McCain's salary by $40,000 and slashing the chief administrative officer Adrian Genre's by $20,000. The council must now vote to approve the budget.

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