By T. Scott Boatright
GRAMBLING — Grambling’s new mayor and City Council will enter 2023 without an approved budget.
That’s after Grambling’s current City Council voted against approving a proposed 2023 budget during Thursday’s monthly meeting held at City Hall.
Alvin Bradley picked up 50..86% of last month’s mayoral race, giving him a majority of votes to avoid having to face incumbent Edward Jones (32.80%).
Bradley’s inauguration ceremony is set for 2 p.m. Jan. 1 in the Black and Gold Room of Grambling State University’s Favrot Student Union.
Cathy Holmes will be Grambling’s only returning City Council member next month. She’ll be joined by new Council meetings Delores Wilkerson, Davaria Ponton and John Brown..
Jerry Lewis and Karen Ludley will face off in a Dec. 10 runoff election for the Council’s final spot.
After approving ordinances to continue 2023 City Council meetings at 6 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month and to amend the 2022 city budget, the Council moved on to vote on adopting a 2023 budget.
Councilwoman Phyllis Miller made a motion to bring the ordinance to a vote, but was the only one in favor of approving a 2023 budget with Holmes, Yanise Days and Toby Bryan voting against the proposed budget. G. Denise Dupree was out of town and couldn’t vote remotely, but Bryan said she too was against approving the proposed budget.
“I guess after it’s happened before, you’re not surprised when it happens again,” Jones said about the Council’s 2023 budget vote. “But they have a right to do that. I know that in passing it they could have always come back and amended it, but evidently they had their reasons why they did not pass the proposed budget.”
This time last year, Grambling’s City Council declined to approve its then-upcoming proposed budget for 2022, voting against it four times before it was finally approved in March.
Jones did say he was proud of the budget he proposed, adding that when he came into office 12 years ago the city was in a $892,000 deficit with 32 audit findings and that the city now has a budget surplus with no findings.
But Jones declined to give even a ballpark estimate of what that surplus will be heading into 2023 once the 2022 budget is finalized at the end of the fiscal year.
Jones said he received no prior indication that the budget was an issue and would not be approved.
Bradley said he had seen the 2023 proposed budget and admitted he was surprised it was not passed.
“It looks in order,” Bradley said. “I don’t know why it didn’t get approved tonight, but we’re not going to let that stop the city from operating. I was anticipating that it would be passed, so I’m as shocked as anyone else that it didn’t pass.”
Holmes said she needs more information before voting in favor of approving the 2023 budget.
“I can’t speak for everybody, I can only speak for me,” Holmes said. “There were some things I questioned about the budget, so I need to do further study.”
Holmes added that she had concerns over salaries but didn’t mention any specifics.
“It’s going to come out,” Holmes said. “And it will be worked out. We’re just trying to do the right thing for the citizens of Grambling.”
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