Enfield Commissioners Cross Racial Lines, Approve Budget
Posted June 29, 1998 7:00 a.m. EDT
ENFIELD — The town of Enfield had a full house for its meeting Monday night, for the first time in a year. Last July, the state took over the town's finances because town leaders couldn't come up with a budget. It looked as if that might happen again. Then the mayor showed up.
Time did almost run out for the Enfield commissioners, but the day before the deadline, the board passed a last minute interim budget. The decision gives them some time to hammer out an annual budget and some time to work out their differences.
It's been more than a year since the entire Board of Enfield Town Commissioners has come together for a meeting, but with the clocking ticking, board members finally put aside their differences and got to work on the town budget.
The unanimous vote comes after months of disagreement among board members. The division has fallen along racial lines with the two black commissioners and Mayor Hardaway refusing to attend meetings. They argue the three white commissioners don't budget equal money among white and black communities. The white say that's not true.
Meanwhile, residents are tired. They want their elected officials to focus on the needs of their town.
"It's pathetic, just pathetic," says Anika Smallwood. "They should forget everything else that's going on and concentrate on trying to do more for the town."
Enfield Mayor Kai Hardaway agrees there are many people who are upset over a lot of different things, but says "we have been very forthright in trying to get some things done for the community that elected us."
Town commissioner Harold Sullivan says he's very optimistic about the town of Enfield.
Monday's surprising meeting with all of the board members could be the first sign of a change of heart among commissioners. The vote gives the town a $500,000 dollar budget for the next 30 days. During that time, they need to come up with a an annual budget for Enfield.