Alexandria, La. (July 12, 2021) — Alexandria Mayor Jeffrey W. Hall, working in conjunction with Finance Director David Johnson, attorney Trey Gist and members of the Alexandria City Council, has submitted a budget amendment for final consideration at Tuesday’s City Council meeting designed to correct the deficiencies in the currently adopted 2021-2022 budget.
“It is time we get this matter resolved,” Hall said. “As Mayor, it is my responsibility to find a way to get that done, just as it was my responsibility to fight to ensure that we comply with the requirements of the City Charter and state budget laws. While I do not agree with all of the allocations in this budget, we are moving forward to do what is in the best interest of our citizens and our employees. If approved Tuesday night, this amendment will create a balanced budget that addresses all of the concerns expressed by council members as well as state budget laws and allows us to move forward.”
Hall said the process used to draft the amendment followed the guidelines suggested June 21 by Ninth Judicial District Judge Patricia Koch. “She specifically instructed Trey Gist, based on his extensive experience in municipal law, to work with the City Finance Director and for all parties to put aside their personal agendas and work together to resolve the problems with the budget, and we have done that. Our city employees all suffered as they had to wait an extra three months to get much-needed pay increases and health benefit savings. That could have been avoided if everyone had been willing to work together from the start,” Hall said.
“Since the day I took office, I have been committed to working together to serve the needs of our community,” Hall continued. “It doesn’t matter what challenge we faced, whether it was recovering from natural disasters including tornadoes, hurricanes and ice storms, negotiating a new contract to bring police and fire pay up to local market standards, dealing with the effects of a global health pandemic or simply finding a way help the community come together to celebrate our nation’s independence, this administration has a proven record of success working together to do what is right for Alexandria. We all get so inspired when we see stories of people putting aside their differences during a disaster and helping one another simply because it is the right thing to do. It shouldn’t take a disaster or a judge’s admonition to get us to do what is right. We all have that ability inside of us. I believe the citizens of Alexandria deserve that from their elected leaders, and I will continue to do my best to make that happen.”
While adoption of the proposed budget amendment would create a balanced budget, it will not resolve all of the outstanding issues that lead to the original court challenge. “This budget still contains a charter violation as councilwoman Catherine Davidson has insisted on eliminating one of the positions the mayor legally should have,” Hall said. “Previous mayors have been allowed to have a full staff, but Ms. Davidson has crossed over from her legislative role to simply strike out an employee for personal reasons. I have pledged to defend the charter, and I will be addressing this problem at a later date. For now, the most important issue is moving the city forward. I’m going to get our employees their pay increases and our citizens the continued services they need.”