Another fiery Port Allen council meeting
PORT ALLEN - Voters in Port Allen will head to the polls this weekend without a 2013-2014 city budget. Mayor Deedy Slaughter vetoed the budget Nov. 4 after some council members added an amendment that left out items the mayor wanted.
Wednesday night, the council met to consider overriding the mayor's veto, but was unsuccessful. The override failed by a 3-2 vote. The budget, now almost five months late, is creating problems for the city. The fire department will run out of money to pay salaries at the end of this month and some city officials might receive their last paycheck in December. The city has been running on 50 percent of last year's budget since July, and those funds will be depleted in December.
Before Wednesday's meeting, Slaughter supporters met on the steps of city hall with a pastor who says despite all of the mayor's issues, she's done everything right. The pastor criticized African Americans who want the mayor out of office.
"Right here in Port Allen, it's a power struggle," said Rev. Raymond Brown. "We cannot allow ourselves to go back to those days."
People at the rally say race is tearing the city apart.
Inside city hall, tensions continue about the city not being able to move forward. There are more questions over campaign literature circulating the city, signed by the mayor. The letter makes campaign promises for Port Allen residents if Deedy Slaughter is not recalled. Including free limestone for pot holes and discounts on utility bills for the elderly.
Those items are questioned by Councilman Hugh Riviere.
"How do you propose to give discounts on utility bills for the elderly and disabled," he asked.
Slaughter says these are promises she's wanted to do since she first took office but has been unable to since she's been under the microscope by the city and the media.
"We get nothing done," said Slaughter. "We just argue about things that we shouldn't be arguing about."
Until something changes, the council fears the arguing will continue.
"Cooperation and communication is a two-way street," said Riviere. "There's been things added to certain agendas without any of our knowledge."
Slaughter faces a recall election Saturday. If she is not recalled, Slaughter plans to hold another special meeting to iron out a budget next Wednesday.