SNELLVILLE -- Snellville's budget debate lives.
Even after the city council voted Friday to approve a contested $9.6 million budget, the fighting isn't over. Mayor Kelly Kautz sent an email Tuesday informing the council that a "proper motion" was never made to adopt the budget proposed by Mayor Pro Tem Tom Witts.
Friday's action has been voided, and the second read will be placed back on an agenda for Monday, Kautz said.
"There was a great deal of discussion but the discussion was never made part of the motion and a hard copy of the budget was never made part of the record," Kautz wrote. "Under Roberts Rules, an improper motion may be rendered null and void even if it is voted on."
During a heated specially called meeting Friday night, the Snellville city council passed the $9.6 million budget proposed by Witts, one that did not include a major budget line for an in-progress Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) project.
Witts contended that there was no need to include the $426,022 budget item, urging councilmembers to pay for the project -- which consists of streetscaping and on-road parking in the city's downtown area and is partially funded by federal grants -- out of reserve funds.
Kautz, whose own budget proposal died Friday, and city controller Jan Burke urged the council that the item needed to be included, even if it was to be earmarked and paid for out of reserves.
In her email Tuesday, Kautz said the desires of Witts and those councilmembers who supported his proposal -- all but Councilman Mike Sabbagh -- could be achieved.
"This is possible, but it must be noted in the budget," she wrote. "Currently there is no line item at all. I have asked staff to show a budget that includes these items but has them earmarked to be paid with surplus funds."
Reached by phone Tuesday, Witts said Kautz was "doing the right thing" with the LCI project.
"She's transferring the funds out of our surplus account just like I said," he said. "It's pretty much what I tried to get Friday night."
"I didn't know she was invalidating everything we did until I got that email ... I just think it's unfortunate that four days later we're getting this stuff," Witts said. "If she had understood what we were trying to do Friday she would have saved us all the embarrassment."
There was some concern about Snellville possibly being found in violation of state code necessitating cities operate with a budget. Witts said Tuesday, though, that he was assured by a state representative there should be nothing to worry about.
"There was no intent to operate without a budget," Witts said. "It's not like we refused to pass one and were going to shut the city down."
Another point of contention in last week's meeting was perceived miscalculations when figuring the 1 percent raise for city employees. Kautz said she plans to have that clarified at Monday's meeting.
To close her email, Kautz addressed the in-fighting that has been commonplace since her election -- an issue again brought to the forefront when the council attempted to begin Friday's meeting and approve Witts' budget before she and Sabbagh arrived.
"I know that we all have issues with each other that we need to work out," she wrote. "However, until this point we have all worked very hard on this budget. Our actions Friday have placed the city in a bind for a variety of reasons, but we as the council have an opportunity to make this right. I am asking for each of you to please put our differences aside and make (doing) what is right for the city our priority."