PORT ALLEN, LA (WAFB) - The turmoil that is Port Allen city government appears to have no immediate end in sight. Leaders held a special meeting Wednesday night to talk about the mayor's proposed budget, but the result was even more dissension.
A standing-room-only crowd gathered in Port Allen City Council chambers for a special budget meeting.
"We only have, to my knowledge, four days left," said one member of the public.
At issue is Mayor Deedy Slaughter's proposed budget, which was introduced two weeks ago, but has yet to be approved by council. Slaughter briefly explained portions of her budget, which includes massive pay cuts for the city's chief financial and administrative officers.
"Baker, Walker, Zachary, New Roads, those salaries were compared with regards to mayor and I had an opportunity to do the same with CFO and CAO positions," said Slaughter.
"I'm not going to accept a $30,000 salary cut or we are just going to give an employee a raise just from $40,000 down," said Councilman R.J. Loupe. "Hey, everybody works here. If they've been here for years, then they deserve what they're getting."
Along with city residents, lawyers for the three council members who filed suit against Slaughter were on hand as well, but it was attorney Victor Woods who urged the council to work together in agreeing on the budget.
"I'm not saying anybody did anything wrong," Woods said. "I'm just saying let's just do what we need to do to get the process moving that makes you comfortable."
As the meeting ended, Slaughter was escorted out of chambers and Councilman Hugh Riviere acknowledged the council is nowhere near a resolution.
"The budget was supposedly introduced on the 12th and today is the 26th and that's only 14 days, so things as simple as that are not being followed and it's a pattern and it's frustrating and really is," Riviere explained.
The new fiscal year begins in less than one week and there are no scheduled meetings over that stretch and it appears Port Allen will not have an approved budget by July 1. The city can only use up to 50 percent of last year's operating budget before a new one has to be put into effect.
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