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St. Martinville Mayor accused of not paying utility bill on time and granting herself extensions

Posted at 10:23 PM, Sep 16, 2019

ST. MARTINVILLE, La. — The St. Martinville City Council is looking to hold Mayor Melinda Mitchell accountable.

The Mayor is accused of not paying her utility bill on time and granting herself extensions. Meanwhile, other customers have been disconnected for not paying.

The council voted to remove Mayor Mitchell's power over electrical disconnects as well as granting extensions. In addition, the council voted to notify Governor John Bel Edwards.

Councilman Craig Prosper said, "We have people up here who are elected who are carrying a balance of up to 1400 dollars."

Prosper said the City of St. Martinville disconnected more than 100 customers last month and more than 800 within the last year. He said the Mayor should have been one of those people multiple times.

"In one year, because you're elected, you don't get cut off," Prosper said to the Mayor during the meeting.

Mayor Mitchell said, "Right now, I owe $537. It shows the bill is current."

Following the meeting, KATC asked the Mayor if she has ever been late on her utility bill and she said, "I have no comment at this time, thank you Chris." We pressed the Mayor further and she said, "I was a few days late, but I have no comment."

Prosper said the Mayor said her car note and house note were due this month, that's why she did not pay her bill on time.

"Whatever the Mayor gets paid...I believe it's around $50,000 a year and then we give her and $800 a month car allowance," Prosper said.

Prosper believes the Mayor is breaking state law. He cited elected officials cannot be late on their utilities. The council wants Governor Edwards to weigh in and Prosper believes Mitchell could be removed from office.

"We should hold ourselves accountable for what we're doing. If we're going to make laws, then we cannot break laws," Prosper said.

The council plans to send the Governor a letter in the coming days.