The town government of Ferriday, Louisiana shut down Thursday (January20) after local officials failed to approve a new budget. Ferriday Mayor Rydell Turner announced that the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office ordered the town not to spend more than 50% of its last operating budget until a new budget is approved. The Mayor said he scheduled a special-called meeting for Monday at 6 p.m. and he expects the aldermen will approve the new budget.

Ferriday is roughly 100 miles north of Baton Rouge, near the Mississippi River, and has a population of more than 4,000 residents. Due to the latest developments, the town has no operating government. This means Ferriday Town Hall and all the departments tied to it, such as the police and fire departments have been temporarily closed since Thursday afternoon. In the meantime, May Turner said the Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Department has offered its services to ensure the town and citizens are safe.

The Mayor told the Natchez Democrat, three aldermen Brandi Bacon, Gloria Lloyd and Andre Keys voted against the towns Jan. 6 budget proposal. According to reports Mayor Turner suspects the aldermen rejected the budget because they weren't sure how funds from Biden's American Rescue Plan Act would be spent. Nonetheless, their “Failure to adopt a budget could be malfeasance of office, as well,” says Louisiana Auditor Director of Local Government Services Diane Allison. She continued, “The unfortunate thing is it’s the citizens of Ferriday who are hurt by this.”

Ferriday alderwoman, Gloria Lloyd, said in her defense “I can’t make an intelligent decision on the budget when we haven’t had a financial report since September,” Lloyd added. “I keep being told we are going to get one, but have not. And we have no say on money being put in an account. That should be the board’s decision, not the mayor.”

The Democrat reports Mayor Turner’s salary is $44,000. The January 6 proposed budget projected a sales tax revenue is $1.2 million and an ad valorem tax revenue of $275,000. The town's total government expenses predicted to top $2.8 million. However, the budget would leave also left the town with a surplus of almost $220,000 and estimated revenue of more than $3 million.

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