Minden city budget slashed in half as stalemate continues beyond deadline for council approval

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MINDEN, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Minden City Council has rejected the mayor’s proposed 2021-2022 fiscal year budget for the fourth time in a row since it was first introduced in June, forcing the city to drastically cut back spending.

The deadline to approve Mayor Terry Gardner’s $39 million budget for the fiscal year that began on Friday, Oct. 1 was Sept. 15. In addition to the basic operating costs, it includes raises for the city’s economic development director and human resources manager.

But three members of the five-seat council have continued to hold out, consistently voting against the budget: Dist. A Councilman Wayne Edwards, Dist. B Councilwoman Terika Williams-Walker, and Dist. C Councilman Vincen Bradford.

Without a budget in place before the start of the fiscal year, state law requires the city to cut expenditures to half of the prior year’s spending.

After Monday’s vote, Mayor Gardner said he knows the council understands the importance of passing the budget but he doesn’t understand why some of them keep voting it down.

“We’re not sure. You have two that understand, it’s a balanced budget. You have three that understand it’s a balanced budget but they want to compromise. We don’t know what the compromise is,” Mayor Gardner said. “The budget needs to pass to keep our city solid and keep our city moving forward.”

As a result of the continuing stalemate, Gardner says the city only has enough funds to last for the next six months. He says they expect to send out a memo on purchases that are unnecessary and they will only spend the remaining funds on things that are necessary.

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