Ferriday government shuts down after officials reject budget

Jan 27, 2022, 2:30 PM | Updated: 3:02 pm

FERRIDAY, La. (AP) — A town government in Louisiana was shut down Thursday after town officials failed to approve a new budget.

Mayor Rydell Turner of Ferriday said the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office ordered town officials to not spend more than 50% of their last operating budget until a new budget is approved, according to The Natchez Democrat.

All of the town’s departments, including the police and fire departments, were shut down after a proposed budget was voted down by the aldermen on Wednesday. Ferriday is near the Mississippi River and about 100 miles (160 kilometers north of the capital of Baton Rouge.

“Failure to adopt a budget could be malfeasance of office, as well,” Louisiana Auditor Director of Local Government Services Diane Allison told The Concordia Sentinel. “The unfortunate thing is it’s the citizens of Ferriday who are hurt by this.”

Turner scheduled another meeting for Monday at 6 p.m. and said he expects the aldermen will approve the new budget.

According to The Sentinel, the same budget was proposed on Jan. 6 but couldn’t be brought to a vote because three aldermen — Brandi Bacon, Gloria Lloyd and Andre Keys — were absent. The same three officials voted against the budget at Wednesday’s meeting.

Turner told The Democrat that the aldermen likely rejected the budget due to uncertainty about how funds from the American Rescue Plan Act would be spent.

“I can’t make an intelligent decision on the budget when we haven’t had a financial report since September,” Lloyd told The Sentinel. “I keep being told we are going to get one, but have not. And we have no say on money being put in an account. That should be the board’s decision, not the mayor.”

The proposed budget would leave the town with a surplus of almost $220,000 with an estimated revenue of $3,042,604 and total government expenses of $2,823,750, according to The Democrat.

The projected sales tax revenue is $1.2 million and projected ad valorem tax revenue is $275,000. Salaries make up $1,210,000 of the expenses. The mayor’s salary is $44,000.

Turner said things are “just fine” and would be until Monday’s special meeting, The Democrat reported.

Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office is providing services to the town while the police department is closed.

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Ferriday government shuts down after officials reject budget