A balanced 2019-2020 fiscal budget was passed Tuesday night at the Clayton Town Council regular monthly meeting amid apologies and congratulations.
For two months Clayton’s mayor, town council and police department have debated over figures found within the budget leading to the two-month delay.
Ironically, the budget was balanced by increasing amounts in a department Mayor Josephine Washington initially wanted to reduce.
The budget was balanced by increasing the estimated police department ticket fee amount.
In previous budget debates, heated arguments occurred over Washington requesting cuts in an already depleted Clayton police department. Her original request was to cut one of the two police officers leaving only Police Chief Bobby Madison and a clerk, who is Washington’s sister, to staff the department.
At the beginning of the budget discussion Monday night, Madison and Washington offered apologies to each other and the audience over the heated arguments.
“In business you do disagree. I apologize for my outburst and my reactions. I am human, and I do make mistakes,” Madison said
Washington responded, “And I do apologize for my outburst.”
In the new governmental budget of $190,741, the mayor’s salary was upped from $23,100 last fiscal year to $25,200 for this fiscal year.
On another front, Clayton received a violation letter Aug. 16 from the Louisiana Department of Health about raw sewerage leaking from the Loomis Street lift station.
“At the time of the inspection, raw sewer water was seen on the ground and in the ditches on Loomis Street and on Washington Street,” according to a letter from Health Department inspectors. The letter stated inspectors visited the site on Aug. 9.
“I inspected the lift station on Loomis Street with the operator from JCP and saw that it was functioning, in ‘hand’ only, however it had only one operational pump and no operational automatic controls. I was informed that several other lift stations were in the same condition. The operator informed me that the overflow was due to a mop head clogging the pump, and that it had been removed.”
The letter went on to list corrective actions such as within 24 hours a vacuum truck should remove the waste and a disinfectant be applied to the infected areas.
Within seven days, the Health Department should receive a report stating remedial actions were performed with a written timeline of long-term corrective action.
At press time, no action has been taken on Loomis or Washington streets, but Washington said she would call JCP Wednesday morning about a possible vacuum truck.
Meanwhile, Town Council members agreed to rescind bids on the sale of a surplus tractor after learning a bucket and Bushhog were included in the specs during the advertisement.
Additionally, Town Council members granted an occupational license to the owners of Star Fuels who purchased Joey’s General Store.