Alexandria City Council approves city’s balanced budget
ALEXANDRIA, Louisiana (KALB) – The dispute over the city of Alexandria budget has been one of the main topics of discussion at city council meetings in recent weeks. Alexandria’s city council on Tuesday passed and approved an ordinance to make changes to balance the city’s budget.
Administration and finance director David Johnson said the budget was out of balance after the council made changes to give the Alexandria Police Department an additional $ 2 million.
On Tuesday, District 4 Councilor Catherine Davidson presented four motions which were all adopted by Council. Two of the motions were to create new posts in the public security division in the budget, especially the police, titled “wages and benefits” and “marginal increases”. Davidson Council members Cynthia Perry, Gerber Porter, Lee Rubin and Reddex Washington voted in favor. District 5 City Councilor Chuck Fowler voted no and At-Large City Councilor Jim Villard abstained.
The other two motions shifted the money from the use of the previous year’s income to the newly created positions. The board voted in favor of transferring $ 1.2 million to “wages and benefits” and then $ 800,000 to “marginal wages”. Council members Davidson, Perry, Porter and Washington voted in favor. Councilors Fowler and Rubin voted no and Councilor At-Large Villard abstained.
Davidson said the budget is now balanced with the right source of funding.
“Just because the administration doesn’t like the fact that we’ve funded increases for the police doesn’t mean it’s illegal or inappropriate,” Davidson said. “They just don’t like it and that’s okay. For anyone who says they want policy increases I would say do it because you have the money.
Davidson said the reason the ordinance was written as it was is that a budget is currently in place. She said the administration thinks the city is running at 50 percent of last year’s budget, but she says it isn’t. Davidson went on to say that the increases should have been paid to employees and 85% of their health insurance.
Alexandria Mayor Jeff Hall said his interpretation of the budget was not the same as what was said at Tuesday’s meeting. The mayor says the budget is not balanced and says he will continue to follow the charter.
“At some point, we’ll have to stop playing politics and get down to business. These employees could already have had their raise. We wanted to be further down the road now, ”said Mayor Hall.
We expect a ruling to be made on June 21 by Rapides Parish Judge Patricia Koch on whether the amended budget violates the city’s charter.
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