- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 1, 2014

RICHWOOD, La. (AP) - Alderwoman Leola Keys says she wants answers about the budget from the town’s fiscal administrator and intends to call a special meeting Wednesday to get them.

The town’s fiscal administrator, Jonald Walker, was appointed by the state to fix the town’s ailing finances. The News-Star reports (https://tnsne.ws/1iVLnu6 ) Walker is scheduled to be in Richwood this week to meet with town leaders about the budget but it was unclear whether Walker will attend the special meeting, set for 5:30 p.m.

The town was supposed to have adopted a budget by Tuesday, but the board unanimously rejected Walker’s proposal at last month’s meeting.

Keys said the board rejected the proposal because its members had no role in crafting it.

“We haven’t had any input with the budget. we don’t know what it’s about. That’s a great concern for us,” Keys said.

The proposed 2015 budget calls for $1.01 million in revenues and $915,238 in expenditures, a positive outlook for the town that routinely missed payroll obligations before Walker took over.

Walker also has a plan to bring bond interest payments up to date.

Though the town is showing signs of fiscal viability, Keys and other aldermen are upset they weren’t included in the process. She said the first time she saw the proposal was the night the board rejected it.

“Even if he does bring the town financial stability, how can we continue that direction if we’re not provided statements?” Keys said. “To me, he’s trying to ram something down our throats. I know the state put him here, but one of our main duties is to know our finances.”

Keys said Walker has offered to meet with each alderman individually to address their concerns, but she wants the discussions to take place in an open meeting.

“If you’re on the level, you don’t have to worry about it being a circus,” Keys said.

Attempts to reach Walker for comment were unsuccessful.

Mayor Alvin Jackson said he believes the town is moving in the right direction and is confident in Walker’s proposed budget. He said he’s trying to bring both sides together.

“He wants to meet with the aldermen to answer their questions. One thing they don’t understand is he has all the power. I’ve been working with him, just like they could have if they’d gotten in touch with him,” Jackson said.


Information from: The News-Star, https://www.thenewsstar.com

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