Richwood Alderwoman vows to reject Mayor’s budget again

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 10:14 PM CST
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Richwood, La. (KNOE) - The Town of Richwood has yet to adopt a budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year, and it doesn’t look like that will change anytime soon.

Alderwoman Leola Keys vowed to vote against the budget at a special meeting on November 23rd and believes she has the necessary support to doom the vote.

“I am totally confident that two other alderpersons feel the same way that I feel,” Keys, an alderman for 17 years, told KNOE.

Keys, along with two other alderpersons, Alderman’s Wysinger Cleveland and Wilbert Reed, boycotted a regular meeting on November 18th, citing concerns over COVID-19.

When asked if their differences are irreconcilable, Keys said, “I have gotten to the point where I don’t think I can work with the mayor. It’s his way or the highway.”

Mayor Gerald Brown says he has worked with the board to change the budget, including adding more police protection for residents.

“It includes seven full-time police officers and one part-time officer,” said Mayor Brown.

Brown also says he added some money to help pay down the town’s liabilities.

Alderwoman Keys says, “My response would be too little too late.”

According to the law, Mayor Brown can spend up to 50% of the town’s budget. Brown says the Louisiana Legislative Auditor has confirmed that once they reach that threshold, some services could see interruptions, including sewer and water.

“It also means if you can’t incur any debt, then you can’t have the energy to service those stations via power,” explained Brown.

KNOE played phone tag with the Legislative Auditors Office today but did get in touch with the Louisiana Municipal Association, which says essential services can’t be shut off.

Alderman Keys says she has been told the same thing.

“Do not be frightened and bamboozled by the mayor’s scare tactics,” said Keys.

As for if a budget doesn’t get passed, Brown says even more headaches could be in store.

It’s probably going to entail myself and some of the alderman having to go to Baton Rouge,” said Brown. Sit on a panel, and do some testifying in regards to where we are with this.”

The special meeting will be held at the Richwood Multipurpose Building at 7 PM on November 23rd.

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