Morgan City will have a new mayor come the New Year – businessman Frank “Boo” Grizzaffi.
“We were cautiously optimistic headed into the runoff,” Grizzaffi said. “Four years ago I joined the race to see if I would even be a legitimate candidate, but I wasn’t elected.”
When Grizzaffi joined the race for the Nov. 6, 2012 primary election, he faced four other candidates – Larry Bergeron, Lee Dragna, Bart Mancuso and Kevin Voisin. In the initial election, Grizzaffi landed 1,884 ballots for 35 percent of the popular vote, and Dragna secured 1,015 votes for 19 percent of the ballots, leading to a run-off between the two candidates.
Once there, Grizzaffi earned the office with a comfortable victory margin.
“Things couldn’t be any better,” Grizzaffi said. “I carried 2,113 votes, almost 69 percent of the vote. In the run off, I think we got the votes of the other candidates that did not make the runoff.”
Grizzaffi was at a victory party with his supporters when he learned he would be taking the place of termed out Mayor Tim Matte.
“I have a friendly relationship with termed out mayor Tim Matte,” Grizzaffi said. “It will be a smooth transition.”
As Grizzaffi takes the reins from Matte, the mayor-elect hopes to streamline the way the city is run as well as clean up the city by enforcing ordinances.
“I said from the beginning that I would change things from the operational angle with a new style of running the town,” Grizzaffi said. “There will be no wholesale changes. Revenue is at $37 million. I think that’s about all we are going to get from a town of 12,000 people.”
One way that Grizzaffi will help to make the town more efficient will be turning around sectors that are currently costing the town money.
“We need to do better on the expense side of things,” he said. “We are losing money in sanitation. We need to run it more as a business than as a service. We are also losing revenue from our auditorium. We need to promote the venue and break even. We’ll already be saving money if we can break even on things.”
Along the campaign trail, Grizzaffi said many of his conversations with constituents were about wanting to see the overall cleanliness of the city improved, and the newly elected official will begin clean-up work by enforcing the town’s ordinances.
“We also need new construction,” Grizzaffi said. “This was a big campaign issue for all the mayoral candidates. Our young people are moving to other towns to build their new houses because we have no place to put them. We are in the final phase of changing zoning ordinances.”
Whether or not he runs for mayor again four years from now, Grizzaffi would like to his mayoral legacy be the establishment of a safety net for his hometown.
“I want to take this city from being check to check to getting some cash reserves,” Grizzaffi said. “A few years ago, this city was flush with cash. We need a bail out plan, in case. We need to watch every dollar. The town has no safety net, so to speak. As a businessman, this town is a multi-million dollar business funded with taxpayer’s dollars. This is a tremendous responsibility, and I take it very seriously.”