The clock is ticking, money is tight and jobs have been lost; something Mayor Caesar Velasquez explained is something no one is ever truly prepared to do.
The town of Sterlington is facing a $1.2 million debt with only 30 days to come up with a plan to fix it.
Mayor Velasquez indicated that there’s no one person to blame, not even the former mayor Vern Breland.
“We just could not make things happen because of weather, construction and lawsuits, we kind of postponed our focal path,” he said.
However that doesn’t ease many minds, Sterlington residents told NBC 10/FOX 14 off camera that they are concerned with the financial state of this town. Police Chief Barry Bonner, though, is hoping that by picking up a simple piece of trash, it’ll be the key to helping to move this community forward.
“We’re going to have to stick together, we’re going to have to do things for ourseleves that maybe normally the town would take care of,” said Chief Bonner.
Bonner has lost some officers to cuts, so he’s no stranger to the financial hardship Sterlington is facing.
He reported that a full staff would be 10 officers, but currently the force is only operating with four. Despite the cuts, help from the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Department will help to get the job done.
To help pick up the slack around town, Bonner took to his Facebook page and began picking up trash.
“Just hang in there, things are going to get better. It’s just going to take a little time, a little effort and some elbow grease,” said Chief Bonner.
Velasquez shared that, cuts have been made and things are improving.
“We are in what I’m going to call a stressful situation, but it’s not dire, everybody just needs to understand and support where they can,” said the mayor.