Delta Democrat Times reports:
A request for funding to replace a heating and air conditioning unit in a building owned by the city sparked debate about where the money will come from at Tuesday's City Council meeting.
Brad Jones, public works director, asked for $3,800 for a HVAC replacement for Brent Neighborhood Facility. The money had not been budgeted, Jones said.“Take it out of the travel/advertising budget,” said Councilman Kenny Gines.
However, Mayor Heather McTeer Hudson urged the council not to deplete that portion of the budget.“Please do not sacrifice your entire (travel/training) budget,” she said, adding that she would be asking council members to accompany her on some trips as the city pursues federal funding for numerous projects.
Councilwoman Ann Hollowell asked if the city had reduced the rent for the daycare in exchange for the renter's making some repairs themselves. Councilman Carl McGee said no, saying it was still the city's responsibility to take care of the building.
“We're going to find this money,” Hudson said.
Councilman Errick Simmons made a motion to approve the request for funding, which Jones and Hudson said they will find. McGee seconded the motion, which passed.
The question of funding for a travel/training request for $245.09 that was turned down last month by the council came up again, but this time Hudson was present to explain the request. She said her trip to the Mississippi Delta Grassroots Caucus in Little Rock, hosted by the Delta Regional Authority Thursday and Friday, is not merely a speaking engagement, but an opportunity to lobby for funds for the port city.
“The city of Greenville requested to make a presentation to this organization about a lot of our infrastructure projects, but also transportation,” Hudson said. “This is the organization that has given us the most recent funding for the Washington Avenue project, the second half of that project.”
However, she said she was not going to ask for travel expenses again for the trip. She said a third party has agreed to pay for it. The council turned down the request at the Jan. 20 meeting because some members said they did not believe the city should pay expenses for the mayor's speaking engagements. Hudson was in Washington, D.C., for the inauguration during that meeting.
"Save the travel budget!" is the latest cry from our globe trotting mayor. This was our mayor's response to a recent request to replace an HVAC system at a city owned child care facility.
Hudson promised to "find" the money elsewhere rather than deplete our (her) travel and training budget. In the same meeting, the council voted not to reimburse the mayor for a recent two day trip to Little Rock which she claimed was an opportunity to lobby for funds for the port city. The mayor stated that she had found a "third party" to pay for the trip.
As for Hudson's Washington DC trip, just how much "work" do you think actually occurred on the days before and after Obama's inauguration? With the entire country's economy headed toward a depression, I doubt that the Mississippi Delta's woes were on anyone's short list.
Everyone needs to take advantage of Mayor Hudson's "open mic" Wednesdays. Ask questions and demand answers to our city's plight. You had better hurry though... I hear Paris in spring is quite beautiful!