RUSTON, LA (KTVE/KARD)– Mayor’s from Kenner, Lake Charles, Woodworth, and Ruston are all trying to bring a COVID-19 action plan to cities and police jury’s across the state. Mayor Ronny Walker says if congress would have given cities and parishes the appropriate amount of money from the beginning, they wouldn’t be at the negotiating table today.
Four mayors across Louisiana gathered around the virtual table asking congress to provide a way to help their respective communities during COVID-19. Ruston Mayor, Ronny Walker, was chosen to be the voice for North Louisiana.
“It was just an attempt to express to our congressional delegations, “please give us some help”. You’ve helped the small businesses, please help the cities and parishes also,” said Ronny Walker, Mayor of Ruston.
As congress helped small businesses through the Payroll Protection Plan, Mayor Walker says cities are businesses on a bigger scale. Ruston’s budget alone is down 3.2 million dollars from last year due to the pandemic. He says, laying people off and cutting budgets and hours is not something cities should have to do.
“I personally think that the Payroll Protection Plan is idle. I mean we are a 78 million dollar business, no different from any other business. We have the same issues,” said Walker.
Local residents say they love the plan and are thankful for a mayor who is fighting for the area.
“I honestly think it’s a great move, not only for the area but North Louisiana. It gets overlooked when it comes to finical needs in small communities. I feel like we are the backbone to this whole state,” Destin Theus, resident.
While Mayor Walker continues to fight for North Louisiana cities, residents say that the people are what make up a successful community…and the help of congress could go a long way.
“Small communities are filled with hard workers and blue collard people, they really focus on what they are building up in our own backyards,” said Theus.
Mayor Walker says Ruston and Monroe are in a hard spot as the perfect storm of a tornado and a pandemic have left many without homes, food, and finical difficulties. Making this payroll protection plan a priority for North Louisiana.