By T. Scott Boatright
Saying he wanted to uphold a campaign promise last fall, Grambling Mayor Alvin Bradley turned Monday night’s August City Council meeting into a Town Hall meeting at the Grambling Community Center/City Hall.
“This is trying to fulfill my promise when I was elected that we would have Town Hall meetings to keep our citizens informed and provide complete transparency as far as to how city governance is going on. This is the first Town Hall meeting since we’ve been in office as a mayor and council.”
Bradley and new Grambling City Council members John Brown, Jerry Lewis, DaVaria Ponton and Delores Wilkerson Smith, along with incumbent alderman Cathy Holmes Jiles, took their oath of office on Jan. 1.
Grambling’s previous City Council did not leave the city with an approved budget for 2023 after discussing it during their last meeting in December, making that a crucial first order of business to kick off the new year with a new mayor and Council.
“The very first thing we did as new mayor and City Council seven months ago was to pass a new budget,” Bradley said. “That was very important because we were left coming into office without a budget for 2023.
“It was very important that we got that done because without a budget we were in violation, so that’s the first thing we did as the new mayor and City Council.”
Bradley mentioned several other hires made in early spring — city accountant Toni Jackson, new city attorney Ron Lattire and part-time social media director Brenda Daniel — as key early moves made by the City Council.
The mayor also said that Daniel had also been working on a new city website and hopes are for it to go live as soon as possible, potentially even today.
Bradley said reviewing accounting and the city’s audit report was another important factor for the mayor and Council in their early months in office.
“We got the auditors to audit 2021 and they’re here now auditing 2022,” Bradley said. “We did engage with a new auditor, John Murray, out of Baton Rouge.”
Bradley said getting a handle on Grambling’s litter problem was another important goal he wanted to accomplish.
“So we hired Earl Albritton to go litter patrol and we’ve hired two young men in our Public Works (department) and their concentration is litter control,” Bradley said. “If you’ve seen them over the past two months, they’re really picking up the litter and trying to clean up the place.
“One of the things we realized is that if we’re trying to attract new business to Grambling, that first impression is the one that lasts. So picking up the litter and grass cutting has been a focus.”
Bradley also told those in attendance that the city has recently received funding to repave Central Avenue, a street shared by the city and Grambling State University.
“(GSU) in their first proposal as part of Phase I paved Central all the way up the Catholic Church,” Bradley said. “And Sen. Jay Luneau has helped provide funding that will allow us to finish paving Central Avenue, so that should be happening in the near future.”
Bradley added that repairing potholes on Grambling Streets has been another key focus, as has upgrading water/sewage and sanitation pickup issues.
Councilman Brown also presented an update to fellow Council members on the CivicReady Emergency Notice System he has been working to bring to Grambling, saying he expects it to come online on Sept. 1.
Grambling Councilwoman Ponton presented an update on the ongoing Community Garden she has spearheaded as part of the meeting.