Vidalia budget meeting canceled for lack of quorum

Published 7:44 pm Thursday, May 30, 2024

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VIDALIA, La. — A budget hearing for the Town of Vidalia could not take place as planned on Thursday evening because the town did not have a quorum of Aldermen present.

Mayor Buz Craft said after the meeting that the budget should be passed by June 30, or the town would be out of compliance with state law.

“We should get it passed by then,” Craft said.

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Alderman Jon Betts, Brent Smith and the mayor were at the town council chamber at 6 p.m. Thursday — the scheduled meeting time — but needed at least one other alderman present to host the meeting.

Craft said Alderwoman Rosa Demby had called in sick and couldn’t make it and Alderman Tommy Probst was away on vacation and stated beforehand that he could not make it.

Craft said he had not heard from Alderman Robert Gardner and waited 10 minutes after 6 p.m. before they left the chamber and the meeting was canceled.

The public hearing on the budget must be advertised publicly a minimum of 10 days before the meeting is scheduled to take place. A new meeting date is to be determined.

The budget meeting day of May 30 was announced publicly during the regular May 14 meeting and advertised in the Concordia Sentinel on May 15, as is required by law.

However, Gardner said that the mayor had not previously discussed what time the meeting would take place with the aldermen to see if it would work with their schedule before he set the meeting.

“I was at work,” Gardner said as to why he wasn’t there. “The mayor should have asked the Alderman what was a convenient time.”

During the 10-minute wait period, Craft thanked the employees and audience members who were present Thursday and expressed his frustration at Gardner for not being there.

“This is one of the most important functions an alderman has is to approve a budget,” he said.