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Budget approved along with special alcohol election to follow

A Special City Council meeting was called in order for the City Council to approve the 2019/2020 City Budget as well as a vote to move forward holding an election regarding the sale of alcohol in Minden. 

At the beginning of the meeting, Minden Mayor Terry Gardner introduced Kristine Cole, a partner at Wise, Martin & Cole CPA’s. She was asked to come in order to answer questions the public or the members of the city council have regarding the budget. City Councilman Herbert Taylor was the first to take advantage.

“I see the same thing on here twice, where it says the Chief Executive Officer has the authority to amend the aforementioned budget through intrafund transfers, and whereas only the governing body will have the authority to amend the aforementioned budget, through intrafund or funds balanced and transferred. To me, it’s reading the same thing, but one says for the Mayor and the other says for the Council,” said Taylor.

“Once the proposed budget is presented by the Clerk and Mayor to the Council for adoption, then the Council has the choice to either adopt the budget for the upcoming year or to not adopt the budget. However, we do have an issue where you have failed to adopt the budget before the beginning of the fiscal year, which triggers that 50% appropriation,” said Cole.

“The resolution is drafted to show the mayor has the authority to amend the budget through intrafund transfers. However, if at any time your adopted budget, revenues or expenses in total are 5 percent, there’s a 5 percent variance. So if you’re spending money then the mayor would come to the council with proposed amendments to bring the budget in line.”

After hearing her explanation, Taylor then said, “So, my question is the Mayor has the power to adjust the budget, not the Council?”

“Well within what’s been appropriated. If there’s going to be any change to appropriate more funds or reduce expenditures, then that comes before the council,” said Cole.  

Near the end of the discussion, Cole explained the importance of the Council passing a budget and the consequences that would come if they took too long to do so. 

“The council does have the authority to not adopt the budget, however, it’s important that you go back to the drawing board and try to start that process of having a budget before the year begins. If there is no adopted budget for the upcoming fiscal year, then that’s when you’re actually limited to 50 percent of what was appropriated in last years budget. And if you hit that 50 percent, there is no moving money around, there are no transferring funds, there is no authority to spend,” said Cole. 

After some more discussion, the budget was motioned by Councilman Pam Bloxom and seconded by Councilman Keith Beard. It passed with three votes in favor, those being Councilmen Bloxom, Beard, and Vincen Bradford, and two opposed, those being Councilmen Herbert Taylor and Terika Willaims-Walker. 

Soon after, the calling of the special election to allow the sale of alcohol in Minden was brought up for a vote. There wasn’t much discussion, but Bloxom did make a public comment.

“The Council previous to us dealt with this when we had the alcohol was accepted for restaurants. Back then I felt the same way, that the Council doesn’t have the right to determine what needs to be done in the city. I think the voters should determine what their alcohol laws are for themselves. Majority rules. With that being said I am in support of this going forward to an election,” said Bloxom.

After, the item was motioned by Vincen, and seconded by Taylor. The vote passed with four in favor, and one opposed, the one being Councilman Keith Beard.