Walkout shuts down Minden City Council meeting

By Bonnie Culverhouse

A move that shut down Monday’s meeting of the city council, could shut down the City of Minden in the near future.

Less than halfway through the agenda, District A Councilman Wayne Edwards abruptly left the meeting, followed shortly by District C Councilman Vincen Bradford. District B Councilwoman Terika Williams-Walker was not present, so the departure of Edwards and Bradford left the meeting without a quorum forcing Mayor Terry Gardner, by law, to adjourn.

“There were some important things on the agenda we had to approve, so we could continue to have a relationship with Centerpoint Energy,” Gardner said, after the meeting was stopped. “Also, we were adopting our millage rates tonight, a purchase agreement with another city that wanted surplus property, so they could provide power. We can’t help one of the cities in our own state.”

Possibly more important was the inability to pass the 2021/2022 operating budget for the city.

“If we don’t have a budget, then, by law, we kick back to operating at 50 percent of the last year’s budget,” Gardner said.

Acting City Clerk Michael Fluhr agreed levying taxes of 5.46 mills on all taxable property and the $39 million budget were extremely important items on the agenda.

“The milage rates for property taxes need to be set and the most important thing for me, personally, was the budget,” he said. “I think it’s disrespectful to the people who worked on the budget for so many months to put some figures together that made sense.”

District E Councilwoman Pam Bloxom said the last few months, more of her fellow councilpersons were attending meetings and workshops, whereas attendance has been a problem in the past.

“Minden, I’m here to tell you, you better get worried,” Bloxom said, even though all cameras were stopped when the meeting adjourned. “The mayor has made proposals that would do wonders for the future of Minden, and anything that comes out of his mouth is shut down by three council people. I’m just telling you how it is, so if you want a voice in how Minden lives after tonight, you better start taking notice and making phone calls.”

Bloxom said the deadline for passing the budget is the end of October.

“If we are operating at 50 percent of last year’s budget, when that money is gone, the city shuts down,” she said. “That’s personnel, that’s payroll, that’s electricity, water, everything.”

Edwards said he was unaware Bradford also left the meeting.

“There are five councilmen, and they all deserve an equal amount of respect,” Edwards said. “That’s the kind of team we need to work toward. That’s it.”

Edwards said he wants public discussions as a team.

“I don’t feel like that was happening,” he said. “The mayor has to call for another meeting.”

Bradford offered little explanation as to why he left the meeting early.

“We didn’t have all the council there,” he said. “Let’s just leave it at that.”

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