Minden council members again pass on opportunity to end city’s budget stalemate

Minden government has half as much to spend until a new plan is in place
(Source: KSLA News 12 file photo)
(Source: KSLA News 12 file photo)
Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 3:22 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 4, 2021 at 11:03 PM CDT

MINDEN, La. (KSLA) — Minden City Council members again passed on another opportunity to end the city’s budget stalemate.

The city’s proposed spending plan was up for consideration during a City Council meeting Monday, Oct. 4. The budget proposal is for the fiscal year that began Friday, Oct. 1.

For the past few days, state law has limited the city’s spending to half as much as it had budgeted last year. Minden could begin to experience cash flow issues if a budget is not adopted soon.

Three council members — District A’s Wayne Edwards, District B’s Terika Williams-Walker and District C’s Vincen Bradford — consistently have voted against the budget proposal. And they did so again Monday evening, leading to another 3-2 vote.

The sticking point to date appears to be a combined total of about $11,000 in pay raises for two municipal employees, economic development director Phillip Smart and human resources manager April Aguilar.

Smart previously told KSLA News 12 that legal action is not out of the question if the budget proposal, as it is written with the raises, is not approved today. “If that contract is broken, it would be a breach of contract, which would open it up to litigation.”

Mayor Terry Gardner explained to KSLA News 12 earlier this month that the raises were conditional on certain milestones and that Smart and Aguilar both met those goals.

The deadline to approve the 2021-22 budget was Sept. 15.

Since that date passed with no new financial plan in place, state law limits the city’s spending to 50% of what was authorized for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.

Minden already was having to draw $2,225,428 from its reserves to make ends meet, according to the city’s 2020-21 budget.

That plan projected $34,816,405 in income against spending totaling $37,041,833. Limiting expenditures to half of that amount gives the city only $18,520,916.50 on which to operate until a new financial plan is in place.

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