Interim Clayton aldermen will soon be appointed by Gov. John Bel Edward’s office to handle town business, according to newly elected mayor Wilbert Washington.
The interim aldermen will serve until the Nov. 3 election when Clayton voters will elect three aldermen out of six candidates who recently qualified for the race.
“(The governor’s office) also asked me for names for their consideration,” Washington said, who spoke to the governor’s representatives Tuesday morning.
Clayton officials did not have a town council meeting in July nor will they have a regular-scheduled August meeting due to the lack of a quorum.
In January, Clayton aldermen passed a proclamation announcing a special election to elect three aldermen on Nov. 3. The terms of the past five aldermen expired June 30.
Qualifying for the Nov. 3 aldermen race were Bertha Anderson, Michelle Bethea, Kevin Mitchell, Abdul R. Sabir, Veronica Skinner and Stephanie Weatherspoon.
Municipal elections were postponed twice by state officials due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Aldermen vacancies come at a critical time for Clayton — its 2020-21 annual budget has yet to be approved even though its fiscal year began July 1.
Previously in a special June 23 meeting, former aldermen cut various spending and upped its budgeted fine and DWI amounts in an attempt to balance a proposed budget.
Along with budget woes, Clayton continues its struggle to pay a $250,000 Concordia Bank & Trust Co. loan and awaits further instruction from Edwards’ office on whether a fiscal administrator will be appointed to handle Clayton’s finances.
Normally, a fiscal administrator is paid through the municipality’s finances, but in Clayton’s case the town has no money for the administrator’s salary.
Meanwhile, the new mayor announced his major term goals with Clayton’s finances topping the list.
“I want to restore our fiscal responsibilities,” Washington said. “I would like to see us correct the direction our town is going financially and to better manage our money.”
Washington said he is also reviewing options to increase Clayton’s revenue.
Improvements in Clayton’s water and sewer are also in Washington’s cross hairs.
“The quality of the water is not where it should be,” Washington said. “I
am going to address that with the company who manages the water and with the state.”
Broadening economic opportunities within Clayton’s corporate limits and expanding youth recreational activities are other goals Washington named.
Long range goals Washington has set include improving Clayton’s infrastructure with an emphasis on streets and drainage systems.
“This will probably not be done in my term, but I want to try to lay the groundwork,” Washington said.