‘We’re not going to be able to stay in this budget,’ Ferriday budget passes amid concerns over payroll

Published 2:27 pm Thursday, August 11, 2022

FERRIDAY, La. — The Ferriday Board of Aldermen unanimously passed an operating budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year on Tuesday, despite disagreements about increases in payroll expenses.

Alderwoman Gloria Lloyd said she had concerns about the town making payroll.

“We’re already starting with a deficit of $471,100,” she said, adding more than $1.5 million of the $3.5 million budget is payroll.

Email newsletter signup

Lloyd said Mayor Rydell Turner increased the number of workers at City Hall from two people to eight.

“I have no reason to dislike you but I don’t like some of the things you’re doing to this town,” Lloyd said to Turner. “Payroll is going to have to be cut if we’re going to survive these next two years. You’ve got eight people at City Hall where there had been two. That’s too many people. You can’t create positions. You can fill them but you can’t create them. We’re not going to be able to stay in this budget. It is not the same budget as we had last year.”

Turner argued that most of the town’s hiring has been at the police department.

“The budget had to go up because our postal department is making $13 per hour. Due to us taking our police officers to $15 per hour, that automatically makes everything go up. … We needed patrol for our town to make our town safer. The weight that has been added to our town is very necessary.”

The Board of Aldermen failed to have a meeting in July to discuss the budget due to the lack of a quorum. This put the town out of compliance for failure to pass a budget in time. Aldermen Gail Pryor and Elijah “Stepper” Banks showed up to Ferriday Hall for the July meeting while Lloyd, Andre Keys and Brandi Bacon were absent.

Lloyd and Alderwoman Brandi Bacon said Tuesday the reason aldermen did not come to the meeting was that the building was not properly cleaned and sanitized after town employees and Bacon had contracted COVID-19.

In January, the Town of Ferriday was forced to shut down for four days because the budget from the past fiscal year was not passed. Ferriday’s police and fire departments were closed and Concordia Parish Sheriff’s office and Louisiana State Police patrolled the town during that time period.  The budget for the last fiscal year finally passed on Jan. 31 during a special meeting attended by Louisiana Legislative Auditor Michael Waguespack.

Bacon and Lloyd also lashed out defensively during public comments about the budget, saying that the mayor accused them of not coming to the meeting because of the budget.

“Everybody on this board and the mayor has this town’s best interests at heart,” said Wayne Roberts, a Ferriday resident. “Whether you agree with each other or like each other is beside the point. This is one time when we don’t need channel eight or some other TV station to come down here and put their eye on us in a bad way.”

Lloyd said she felt insulted by Roberts’ remarks.

“This is insulting to me for you to get up here and try to talk to me like I’m a child. I’m a grown woman and 73 years old. I know the law. … I don’t care who you are. You could be Donald Trump. Don’t come in here and try to intimidate me,” she said.