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Lawrenceville rejects budget committee bid

LAWRENCEVILLE -- By a split 3-2 vote, the Lawrenceville City Council on Monday rejected a resolution proposed by outgoing Councilman Bob Clark to create a city budget and audit committee.

Clark and Councilman P.K. Martin voted for the committee. Council members Mike Crow and Marie Beiser voted against it. Mayor Rex Millsaps cast the tie-breaking "nay" vote.

Clark proposed that the committee be composed of the mayor, a council member appointed by the mayor, the city clerk, and two citizens appointed by the mayor with the advice and consent of the council.

The committee's duties would have included developing standards for the city's annual independent audit, creating a budget adoption calendar or timeline, and insuring that the mayor and council receive financial statements on a timely basis.

Some of the financial documents suggested in the resolution included a special report on the city's annual audit, quarterly income and expense statements for each city fund or account, and semi-annual balance sheets that reflect the city's assets and liabilities.

"I think current financial reports are insufficient for us to understand the entirety of the city's financial situation," Clark said. "They don't give us immediate information as to how funds are being allocated to achieve our goals."

The mayor expressed concern that the committee might interfere with the authority granted to him by the city charter to prepare and present the annual budget to the council for adoption. The budget is developed with input from city departments.

Councilwoman Beiser said she has never had a problem obtaining financial information from the city administration.

City Clerk Bob Baroni said after the meeting that a 78-page report on the city's finances is printed out monthly. Not all the council members want copies of the report because it is bulky, he said, but the information is available.

In other business, the council:

* Approved the second reading of a request from T-Mobile to erect a 195-foot cellular telephone transmission tower on property belonging to Central Baptist Church on Gwinnett Drive. Rodney Camren, a resident of Sherwood Forrest subdivision, spoke in opposition to the tower.

* Agreed to post job listings for a planning and zoning director and an economic development officer on the Lawrenceville and Georgia Municipal Association Web sites and advertise the two positions in the Gwinnett Daily Post rather than hire a recruiting firm.

* Took no action on granting annual employee raises at this time due to the economy, but agreed to evaluate the possibility during the year.

* Granted special-use permits for a billiards/game room at 102 Stanley Court, Suite D, and an automotive sales and repairs facility at 693 Grayson Highway.

* Tabled action on a request for a special-use permit for hand car wash and emissions testing facility at 250 Scenic Highway until information can be obtained on the availability of bathroom facilities for employees and customers.