New city task force to explore recommendations, grants; City council meets afterward in budget workshop

By Bonnie Culverhouse

In response to concerns voiced by some members of the Minden City Council, Mayor Terry Gardner has formed a task force to explore recommendations and search for grants for first responders.

Safety Initiative Program (SIP) will have its first meeting at 10 a.m. Monday, Aug. 23 in the Pelican Room at Minden City Hall.

“On our committee is a community leader from each district,” Gardner said, “along with our fire chief, police chief, Jason Smith, president of the Minden Police Association and Adam Bradley, representing the fire department.”

Gardner says he hopes the task force will be able to find ways to increase salaries and find grants for equipment.

“We will also study the proposed curfew ordinance,” he said. “We will look at permits for our parks and recreation.”

At a special council meeting Thursday, District A Councilman Wayne Edwards said affected communities needed to look at the proposal. He also said he wanted the entire city to be policed and not just areas with higher crime rates.

“I’ve got a good group,” Gardner said. “It’s a mix of past city council and active community and business leaders.”

Representing District A will be Larry Gibson, District B will be Mack Jones, John Bradford will represent District C and Annette Blake – wife of a former police officer – will attend for District D. The District E slot has yet to be filled.

Budget Workshop

At 11 a.m., following the task force meeting, Gardner will meet in a budget workshop with council members.

During the special meeting Thursday, the same group of councilpersons refused to pass the 2021-2022 $39M budget for the city.

Edwards spoke up, claiming he had to object to the budget because of concerns with the American Relief Fund, salary increases for some city employees and a review of salaries for Minden Police.