Clayton aldermen questioned Mayor Josephine Washington over spending during the town council’s regular meeting Tuesday night.
Aldermen asked the mayor why she allowed Town of Ferriday employees to mow Clayton’s park for $500 and why the town purchased two back up generators and a pressure washer for $8,000.
Washington said the purchases were not made until she discussed the matter with three aldermen -- Floyd Barber, Houston Holmes and Wilbert Washington.
She said aldermen Shannon Madison and Willie Evans were not called because they cannot take calls while at their jobs.
Evans, who led in the questioning of Washington, said costs must be watched closely due to Clayton’s outstanding debt with Concordia Bank & Trust Co.
“This is a cost factor,” Evans said. “(Not mowing or volunteer work) could have saved us $500 to pay to the bank. My main pet peeve is to get this bill at the bank behind us.”
In her defense, Washington said she called Ferriday to mow the lot but did not know the job was complete until she received the bill.
“Everybody was complaining about the grass, so I got somebody to cut the grass,” Washington said.
The purchase of the generators and pressure washer was not done properly, Evans said.
“We can’t handle business by phone,” Evans said. “This was not done in an orderly manner. You can buy these entities everyday (at a local store.)”
Washington said she purchased the equipment from traveling salesmen after she called Barber, Holmes and Washington. She said the equipment would be used to backup the water plant and a lift station.
“The generators are not even big enough to handle the water plant,” Evans said. “This is illegal. Our job is to legislate, and her job is to execute. I disapprove of this”
Washington assured Evans and Madison that the purchase was legal because three aldermen approved it.
In a related topic, aldermen passed a motion to pay Concordia Bank & Trust Company an additional $750 from the sale of surplus police cars and $500 from alderman check donations after Madison questioned Washington whether or not their donated check portions were going toward the note.
“Is our money that we took out of our checks going to Concordia Bank,” Madison asked.
“We are paying Concordia Bank,” Washington said.
In recent months, aldermen agreed to take $125 out of their checks to pay the Concordia Bank & Trust Co debt.
Meanwhile, aldermen agreed to pass a cross connection control policy for their water system.
The cross connection policy will help prevent possible contaminants from entering into Clayton’s water system from back flow.