Alexandria Mayor Jeff Hall vetoes amended budget that includes raises, recruiting money for APD
ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Alexandria Mayor Jeff Hall has vetoed the amended operating and capital budget for the 2021-2022 fiscal year that was approved by the Alexandria City Council last week.
The council voted five to two in favor of the amended budget back on April 20. Members Catherine Davidson, Cynthia Perry, Gerber Porter, Jim Villard and Reddex Washington voted for the budget, while Lee Rubin and Chuck Fowler voted against it.
Since that vote, Mayor Hall expressed that he was not satisfied with the amendments that were made, which included more money to the Alexandria Police Department.
This money came from a $1.7 million surplus that was not spent on police salaries and an extra $300,000 was added to that amount to make an even $2 million.
Another amendment was made to defund the city’s Public Safety Commissioner position, which is held by Daryl Terry. District 4 Councilwoman Catherine Davidson made this amendment and wanted to use the $113,183 salary as a new line item in the budget designated for recruiting for APD. Following this amendment, Mayor Hall said he believed this action was against the charter and wasn’t satisfied with the position being defunded.
The City of Alexandria released this explaining the violations the city council made to the charter according to Mayor Hall:
At Mayor Hall’s ‘State of the Community’ update on April 22, he referred to the amendments made by the council as “ill-advised.”
Mayor Hall said that the $2 million pay raise for APD interferes with negotiations that the City of Alexandria is having with the Union representing the officers. Mayor Hall also wanted to wait until a pay study was complete to see where the current pay in Alexandria relates to surrounding municipalities.
District 3 Councilwoman Cynthia Perry, not happy with Mayor Hall’s veto, said, “I don’t believe our mayor understands how important it was to amend that budget. We worked hard to have that budget amended so that my district wouldn’t flood and that students would have after school programs. It also was aimed to help blighted houses get demolished and so that our police members and our city employees could get raises. That speaks volumes.”
According to Davidson, the budget has to be approved by April 27, but because of the late decision by Mayor Hall’s administration, the budget will revert back to 50% of last year’s budget on May 1. On May 4, there will be a vote on the veto.
“Not agreeing with the mayor’s priorities does not mean that we are not cooperating. I just don’t agree with his priorities. The mayor just vetoed police raises, drainage for three neighborhoods, community programs, money for condemnation and recruiting for a police department that has many officers down,” said Davidson.
This statement was released by Mayor Hall’s office after the veto:
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