Port Allen votes to approve budget but veto looms

PORT ALLEN, LA (WAFB) - Four months after the start of the fiscal year, Port Allen's city council voted to approve the budget Wednesday but not everyone is happy about it.

A special meeting was held to discuss and vote on an amended city budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. The amended spending plan was developed over the last two weeks but Mayor Deedy Slaughter cautioned it did not include feedback from two of the five city council members.

"We want to make sure that Councilwoman Ray Helen Lawrence and Councilman Brandon Brown will have an opportunity to put an input into this proposed amended budget," said Slaughter.

Some of that input came during the meeting as council members Lawrence and Brown made requests to have a new human resources position and the police department's budget approved.

"It's very important he does have what he needs so he can have a safer area for the community," said Brown.

"Outdated how many years? It's outdated, so we do need someone to work those dual positions," added Lawrence.

Councilman R.J. Loupe countered that claim, saying human resources and community development should be outsourced.

"What would work the best, no doubt, in my mind is contracting and let them go job to job," Loupe explained.

The meeting also included some public pleas for the mayor and council to reach an agreement.

"You guys really need to come together and not have us in arguments looking like we're divided," one resident said.

In the end, the council approved the amended budget by a 3-2 vote and Slaughter promised to take a stand unless a human resource position and several other changes were added to the plan's language.

We would have to come back to the table to see if we can get some of those items in that budget," Slaughter said.

"Does that mean you are going to veto it?" the mayor was asked. "Yes," she replied.

"We've done it in a streamline nature and anybody who refutes it, well, you're sending a clear message to city and citizens you're not for a balanced situation," said Councilman Gary Hubble.

If the mayor does veto the budget, it would require four of the five council members to override her veto. The city is running on half of last year's operating budget and can continue to do so until the budget is exhausted or December 31st, whichever comes first.

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