Port Allen: Still no vote on a budget

PORT ALLEN, LA (WAFB) - It was nothing out of the norm when it comes to a Port Allen council meeting: loud outbursts, police presence and many Port Allen Mayor Deedy Slaughter supporters in tee-shirts reading "We support Mayor Slaughter. Our votes count against recall."

Mayor Slaughter handed out an itemized budget at the beginning of Wednesday's council meeting, something Council Member Hugh "Hootie" Riviere said he had been asking for since last week to prepare for Wednesday's meeting.

"This is a lot of information that's just been handed to us," said Hootie.

A glaring problem? Some council members said the budget is not balanced. The total amount of dollars coming into Port Allen according to the budget Mayor Slaughter handed out at the September meeting, is $9,031,986, but the expenditures are $9,723,971.

"That's not a good way to use taxpayer dollars," said Hootie.

"We can't just say we're going to do this and do this if the money's not there. We can't do that," said R.J. Loupe.

A breakdown of that budget includes nearly $200,000 for the Port Allen Police Department to help buy 18 brand new Tahoe's and $60,000 for a community development office to help write grants. Salaries for Chief Financial Officer Audrey McCain and Chief Administrative Officer Adrian Genre are back up to what they're currently making. There's also an increase for legal payments.

"As you know, we continue to have known legal settlements and they have to be proved and we just had some. The city approved recently over $400,000 in legal payments so the budget would have to be amended to add these payments to the budget," Mayor Slaughter.

Also, there are five names crossed out replaced with new names. Those are all the people who have left city hall since Mayor Slaughter took office.

Former Port Allen Mayor Roger Bergeron also offered his two cents saying the budget was not balanced.

"Well, it's a typo," said Mayor Slaughter.

Some from the city have pointed the finger at Mayor Slaughter saying she has not worked with the council and CFO to prepare her budget. When asked who helped her put together the budget, "City employee Dr. Slaughter," said Mayor Slaughter.

"There's no problem with the budget. There's no deficit. If you read the law, she's well within the numbers in the law. It's based on estimated revenues. The estimated revenues are $20 million and the expenditure is only $10 million," said Port Allen's Chief of Staff Ralph Slaughter.

In the end, Port Allen still has no 2013-14 budget. Instead, a special meeting is set for Wednesday Oct. 16 to discuss and try to vote on a budget. Meanwhile, the mayor and council left before the Port Allen Fire Chief could present his budget for 2013-2014.

When it comes to the council's attempt to override the mayor's veto to the ordinance that would have raised her salary to $84,960, the vote once again came down to 3-2. Four votes were needed to override her veto. The ordinance included in it naming department heads, an issue the mayor and council have been battling for months.

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