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Port Allen budget battle continues

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POSTED: Tuesday, November 5, 2013 - 8:30pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, November 6, 2013 - 8:07pm

Port Allen Mayor Deedy Slaughter spoke out Tuesday about her decision to veto the city budget.

"I didn't wait till the eleventh hour. There is a revised statute out there saying the number of days saying the amount of time that you do have to veto a budget, and I made that deadline," Slaughter said.

Slaughter said the reason she vetoed the budget that was passed in October was because it didn't include money for things she said the city needs.

"We know for sure the police cars are something that is really needed," Slaughter explained. "I had a citizen walk up to me to say that a police officer pulled her over and they didn't have a headlight working. "

Port Allen Chief Financial Officer Audrey McCain said she has some concerns about the budget situation.

"I am extremely concerned that the personal services (ie., salaries and benefits) for the fire department and the administration will be depleted before the end of the year (likely early December) if we do not have an adopted budget," McCain said.

McCain said the city has money in the bank: "However, no one has authority to spend the City's money without the appropriation of the funds in each specific account by the governing authority (which is the City Council). The City Council determines how much and on what items the City's money will be spent. Right now, the only money appropriated for the City of Port Allen to operate is one-half of the amount approved in the previous year's adopted budget in each specific line item of that budget, period. "

The mayor said the city has time to get a new budget on the book.

"We are still operating off of 50 percent of the (previous) budget, and we do have until the month of December," Slaughter said.

Now she says its up to the council to work with her and each other to work out a budget.

"Yes this city will get a budget. We are at a point where we will have to negotiate myself as well as the council," Slaughter said.

Port Allen resident Allen Goree supports the mayor's decision to veto.

"I mean there is plenty money here in Port Allen, and they're going to make it right one way or the other it's going to happen," Goree said.

Other people say the veto was a bad move for the city.

"The city is going backwards instead of forwards," Arthur Cagle, Port Allen resident, said.

Cagle explained he is ready for a change in leadership at city hall, which is why he voted early in the recall election.

"People of all ages and all races who are interested in moving the city forward and having a competent logical person as mayor are going to vote for her recall," Cagle said.

Goree voted early too, and he has a sign in his yard encouraging voters to keep Slaughter in office.

"I like to see things be right and I support Mrs. Slaughter," Goree said.

They're not the only ones voting early. West Baton Rouge Parish registrar of voters Stacy Ryan said a lot of people are doing the same.

"To me it means with the turn out as high as it's been that people are informed they understand early voting is taking place," Stacy Ryan, said. "The word is out and it's a good thing. It's always a good thing when you have a high turn out for any election."

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