Judge Encourages Parties to Work Together to Correct Budget Errors

Alexandria, La. (June 21, 2021) — Mayor Jeffrey W. Hall is calling on Alexandria City Council members to sit down with the Administration and create a sustainable budget following Ninth Judicial District Judge Patricia Koch’s hearing today.

 

Judge Koch mandated Alexandria City Council members to set aside personality differences and work with the city’s budget experts in the next 30 days to resolve the current imbalance in the City of Alexandria 2021-2022 budget adopted by the Alexandria City Council.

 

“We are pleased the judge agrees with our position, that the budget adopted by the City Council is improper and in violation of the terms of our city’s Home Rule Charter,” Hall said. “It is unfortunate we had to take this matter to court. Citizens expect their leaders to work together peacefully to resolve differences, and that is what the judge said she expects. Ultimately the City Council and the administration have to, as the judge said, set aside the personalities and work toward the same goal of doing what is best for the residents of Alexandria and its employees.”

 

The city will continue to operate as it has been on a budget based on 50 percent of the final 2020-2021 budget until a balanced budget is in place. “The next step is to use our experts to create a new budget that is sustainable, that provides for the needs of the entire city, that is balanced and complies with the city charter,” Hall said. “Once our agreement with the police union is signed we can include the actual funds needed for APD raises, and we can address drainage, blight and other concerns that have been expressed by City Council members. We can quickly get where we need to be as long as everyone is willing to set politics and their own personal agendas aside and work together to create a new budget.”

 

“It is important that we move forward quickly,” Hall added, noting Judge Koch suggested a 30-day timeline. “Because of the improper actions of the City Council, all city employees have had to wait to get the pay increases that were included in the original budget as well as the health benefits savings we proposed that they could have had starting May 1. We have had to delay the start of some needed city projects. The best thing we can do for the citizens of Alexandria and for our employees is stop bickering, stop the political grandstanding and sit down with the budget experts and work together for the good of the city.”

 

The City of Alexandria and Hall, individually and in his capacity as Mayor of the City of Alexandria, filed a petition for declaratory judgement, injunctive relief and temporary restraining order against each of the members of the Alexandria City Council in their official capacity on May 5 in 9th Judicial District Court seeking to block implementation of the amended budget adopted by the Alexandria City Council on April 20, vetoed on April 27 and then re-adopted by the council on May 4.

 

A hearing was held on May 21 in 9th Judicial District Court regarding the city’s request for a preliminary injunction at which time Judge Koch heard testimony from both sides. A ruling was originally scheduled for June 2, but was delayed until June 21. No new court date has been set for any further rulings on this petition.