Former alderman airs complaints

Former Baldwin Alderman Tony Gibson brought several items before the board Thursday.

Gibson first inquired why the election to fill the seat he was legally forced to vacate due to an elections violation was not on the ballot Saturday. “We could have put that on then,” he said.

Mayor Wayne Breaux explained that the election to fill Gibson’s unexpired term is set by the Louisiana Secretary of State and will be at the earliest available ballot date which is Oct. 19.

Gibson then asked about Branch Street Park, which the board heard complaints about from local residents eight months ago. Those complaints involved lack of mowing, upkeep, standing water and vandalism in the restrooms. The residents asked for the park to be shut down completely, but the board promised to address the issue.

Breaux said some work has been done, and the restrooms have been locked up until a decision is made on whether or not they will be repaired and reopened.

The main town park is also under maintenance, Breaux said, though electrical issues in the concession stand and the overhead lights have yet to be addressed because the electrician must work around youth sports events.

Also Tuesday, Breaux reported that approval of construction of a fire substation beneath the U.S. 90 overpass at the end of Martin Luther King Street is moving along, with state officials seeming agreeable to the concept.

Gibson said there was property for sale in the area south of the railroad tracks where the substation is to be built to help provide fire security in the event of an incident when a train is passing. He complained that the current location is taking too long to come through and there’s no guarantee it will be approved by the state.

He said the substation was “supposed to be built before the fire station” that’s just being finished at the former Baldwin Elementary School.

The mayor and board said that was never the case; the two projects are being funded by different grant sources.

But Gibson claimed there was a $100,000 grant for the substation.

“I’d sure like to know where from,” Breaux said, saying the grant was for $30,000, which would not even cover the entire cost and the town will have to pay a $20,000 balance.

Gibson then said the town paid $50,000 for the Baldwin Elementary School property, which Breaux said was also inaccurate. “We paid zero for that property,” he said.

Gibson accused Breaux of lying. “You are a great liar,” he said. “No hard feelings about it.”

Breaux demanded Gibson give him an instance where he ever lied but Gibson declined.

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