Fireworks Over Veto
Written by Mark Chreene on February 4, 2020
The tension carried over from the January meeting to the February meeting of the Minden City Council on Monday night. The tension was mostly over the veto issued by Mayor Terry Gardner last month over a motion that was voted on to have the “T.C. Bloxom Memorial Fields” sign and fencing at the Minden Recreation Complex removed within 72 hours of passing the agenda item. A motion was made to overturn the veto by Councilwoman Terika Williams-Walker and seconded by Councilman Vincen Bradford. Before voting, there was heated discussion over whether the Mayor could even issue a veto on the matter. Vincen Bradford said that according to the Lawrason Act, on page 26 of the copy Bradford noted that Gardner provided for the council says “the Mayor may not veto a motion adopted by the board.” Bradford then stated “You don’t have the power to veto that.” However, that’s when the heated discussion began. Mayor Gardner then replied that he, in fact, did have the power to veto the motion. The copy of the Lawrason Act that Bradford was reading from was an older copy from August of 2016 and the copy that Mayor Gardner was reading from was updated in October of 2019.
There was then a long discussion with the council and City Attorney Charles Minifield over the definition of an Act and Ordinance. Minifield, after giving a brief breakdown of the differences in Resolutions and Ordinances, gave his opinion on the matter, saying; “I think we can do this without having World War III. You need to get together and come up with something that both sides can live with and think that can be done.” The mayor then brought the matter to a vote and it was 3 for and 2 against overturning the veto, with Williams, Taylor and Bradford voting for and Bloxom and Beard voting against. Minifield noted that Bloxom should not have voted since she had a direct interest in the matter while Councilman Keith Beard noted that councilman Herbert Taylor voted when the council approved his appointment as Mayor Pro Tempore. However, Mayor Gardner noted that the in the Lawrason Act, that at 2/3 majority, not a simple majority, was required to overturn the veto. That meant that the motion needed 4 votes to pass. Since the vote was 3-2 the motion failed and the veto stands in effect. Councilman Vincen Bradford asked to have added to the record his objection to the Lawrason Act 2/3 majority requirement for the vote.
The council did take care of most of the other matters of business without much discussion or division on Monday night including:
• Approving a request from Reynolds Industrial Contractors, Inc. d/b/a Catamaran Solutions located on the Old Shreveport Road to have property owned by them annexed in to the Minden City limits
• Approved the final plat for a lot split of property belonging to Noah Arc Community Development located on East Union Street.
• Approved giving the Mayor authorization to request proposals for the Minden Recreation Complex Concession services.
The council also heard from City Clerk, Michael Fluhr, who presented the financial report for December 2019. Fluhr reported that Cash balance for the city in December stood at $17.7 million up from $14.7 million in December of 2018, but down from $18.1 million in November of 2019. Fluhr did report that sales taxes for December were up, collecting $599,000 up from $374,000 a year ago and up from November of 2019, which was $469,000. Fluhr said the city had budgeted $514,000 for the month of December as estimated sales tax collections.
Minden Police Chief Steve Cropper noted that many of the side roads that connect to Elm Street will be blocked Saturday afternoon for the annual Mardi Gras parade. Cropper said that the officers will move the barricades once the parade was over, but asked that citizens not move them if in place.
Cropper also stated that it was a busy month for the department reporting 71 arrests made in January, along with 690 calls for service, 118 incident reports, 128 citations issued (30 criminal and 98 traffic), 104 warrants were issued and the Minden Police Department served 53 of those. Cropper also said that department worked 29 crash reports during the month of January.
Mayor Terry Gardner commended the city of Minden for their efforts with the Minden St. Jude Auction over the weekend. Gardner also informed those in attendance of a Council Workshop scheduled for Thursday at 4 p.m. in the Pelican Conference Room to wrap up the proposed alcohol ordinance as well as addressing the employee manual, per Councilwoman Walker’s request.
The next meeting of the Minden City Council is scheduled for Monday, March 2nd.
KBEF PHOTO / MARK CHREENE | City Clerk Michael Fluhr gives his monthly financial report during the Minden City Council Meeting on February 3, 2020.