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Alexandria City Council votes to override Mayor Hall’s veto of amended budget

Published: May. 4, 2021 at 6:39 PM CDT|Updated: May. 4, 2021 at 10:18 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - The Alexandria City Council has voted five to two in favor of readopting ordinance No. 66-2021, which overrides Alexandria Mayor Jeff Hall’s veto of the amended budget last week.

The council needed a 2/3 vote to override the veto. The two council members to vote against were Councilmen Chuck Fowler and Lee Rubin.

The council’s decision came in front of a packed house inside council chambers as they had max capacity for the first time since before COVID-19 limited attendance last year. Among those in the crowd was about 20 members from the Alexandria Police Department, who cheered when the council voted to override the veto.

Starting Tuesday night, the amended budget will go into effect, which means every city employee will receive a 2% pay increase and an additional $2 million will be allocated to the police department. This also means money will be set aside for drainage projects and condemnation work in the city.

Another amendment that is going into effect is that the Public Safety Commissioner’s position held by Daryl Terry will be defunded and the $113,183 will be used to recruit officers to APD. In the mayor’s veto, he said that decision violated the city charter and he wasn’t pleased with the way the council voted.

“It is unfortunate that the council overrode the veto but certainly that’s part of the process. We are still going to work together to try to come to a positive for the residents and employees. The citizens want to see us work together to get things done,” said Mayor Hall.

District 4 Councilwoman Catherine Davidson has been leading the charge on the council side and said that the council’s amendments to the budget are legal.

“We can disagree on the priorities but the process was legal. This is how democracy works. It is unfortunate that this couldn’t be handled four to five weeks ago. There’s always room for compromise, but I will not compromise for police raises,” said Davidson.

News Channel 5 was told by council members that they were informed after the meeting that an injunction will be filed against them related to the amended budget that was passed.

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