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Budget passed in Snellville; mayor, council continue feud

SNELLVILLE -- Mayor Kelly Kautz's proposed budget died and a motion for an amended budget was called to a vote.

Then Friday's Snellville city council meeting actually started.

Then it happened again.

A 4-2 vote pushed through an amended budget proposed by Mayor Pro Tem Tom Witts, one that does not include a $426,022 budget line for road projects through the Livable Centers Initiative. The LCI project -- streetscaping and on-road parking in the city's downtown area, already in progress and partially funded by federal grants -- was the crux of debate among the mayor and council and the primary difference between Witts' $9.61 million budget and that proposed by Kautz.

Kautz called the project's non-inclusion, and the budget in general, "sloppy," "a mess" and "unprofessional."

"If we know we're going to incur an expense, you have to budget for it," she said. "You can't just decide, 'Oh, I don't want people to see that right now, we'll put it in later.'"

Witts said it was not included in the budget because he didn't believe it should be factored into tax calculations. He said it should be handled with money received following the service delivery dispute with the county.

"I don't feel that's something we should be taxing our people for," Witts said. Councilmen Bobby Howard and Dave Emanuel voiced their support.

Jan Burke, the city's controller, did not support Witts' budget. She called the omission of the LCI project -- as well as $16,900 for gazebo repairs at Briscoe Park -- a "material misstatement."

"Those are material expenses," she said. "They have to be budgeted. We obviously are going forward with those projects."

The budget passed despite the "no" votes of Kautz and Councilman Mike Sabbagh.

All that happened after the council members, minus Sabbagh, "tried to pull a fast one," in Kautz's words.

Witts, the mayor pro tem, called Friday's meeting to order at precisely 7 p.m., without Kautz or Sabbagh present. The present council quickly let Kautz's proposed budget die by not offering a motion. By the time Kautz entered chambers at 7:03 p.m., Witts was in the process of calling for a vote on his own budget.

When Sabbagh entered at about 7:05 p.m., Kautz and Witts were in the middle of an argument over his authority to begin a meeting without her present. It was determined that a vote of the council must be taken in order for the mayor pro tem to do so -- no vote had been taken.

"I was in my office, I was here," Kautz said. "We had city manager interviews earlier today and I was running late. I'm very disappointed in council. Not only were they trying to be deceitful with the budget, but they were trying to pull a fast one and do the meeting before we were here."

The budget passed, Kautz said she would "reassess" things when City Attorney Tony Powell was present next week.

Witts passed out printed statements following Friday's meeting, calling the new budget one he was "proud of." The statement issued said the budget would reduce property taxes by a total of $530,000, while Kautz' proposal did so by only $225,000.

"I'm proud of all the time and effort spent by the members of council in conjuction with our city staff that resulted in a good budget and tax relief to our property owners," Witts said.

Comments

SnellvilleTod 2 years, 3 months ago

It is strange that the same city employee that tried to add a pay period to Snellville's amended 2012 budget, which would have resulted in an increase of every employees' pay this year, is now saying there is a problem with "material misstatements" in the newly adopted budget. The insurance payout for the damage to the Briscoe shelter was received by the city some time ago. Since the projects in question have been in the works for months the interim city manager and Ms. Burke should have included these now contested figures in the proposed budgets all along. It is ridiculous City Council was meeting on a Friday night on the last business day before the end of the fiscal year and all the members couldn't even show up on time. Former city manager Russell Treadway had a proposed working budget out to Mayor and Council before he left in April.

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roaads1 2 years, 3 months ago

I love this. Thanks to Witts, Howard, and Emanuel the people of Snellville saved over 500k. Good to see someone finally stand up for the citizens.

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BrendaLee 2 years, 3 months ago

A city budget proposed by successful business owners or the TAXING one proposed by Mayor Kautz who has her own financial management issues. That's a no brainer. Go Council!

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truthbtold 2 years, 3 months ago

Cant get over Barbra Bender lost yet

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kevin 2 years, 3 months ago

Now you folks are still finding yourselves wrapped up in fighting your own government. Would have been easier if you stayed with Gwinnett County and all of its past corruption. No different if you re-elect these same people on your council in 4 yrs. People complain but never keep working at getting rid of the representatives you all voted for that refuse to honestly represent their constituents. Never re-elect a person no matter how much they cry upon your feet.

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mustardandbiscuit 2 years, 3 months ago

It's always better if you make your comment BEFORE you burn a doobie, Kevin, rather than after?!

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truthbtold 2 years, 3 months ago

You people need a life all Witts, Howard,Emanuel did was rearrange money in the hopes the citizens dont see the real truth . What a joke nothing more than smoke and mirrors and campaign statements on snellville citizens dime They lie......... Truth is they cost and spend more of snellvilles money . If you believe any thing they say your just as crooked as they are..... OPEN YOUR EYES................................................Vote them OUT Snellville deserves better

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rocknroll 2 years, 3 months ago

truthbtold-now there's a laugh. You can't get over being voted out of office and your making false statements. What Witts Howard and Emanuel did was save the people of Snellville money. They did exactly the same thing that other responsible city councils in Gwinnett County did. I for one will be singing their praises for doing the right thing for the people who pay taxes.

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truthbtold 2 years, 3 months ago

Rocknroll, The world is full of Kings and Queens . Who blind your eyes then steal your dreams. Its heaven and hell, tour of Black Sabbath 1980 And is sooooo true !!!!!!!!!!

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truthbtold 2 years, 3 months ago

Look at history any time a official local, state,federal, says no taxs or lowers them.Its just a invite for more taxs or back door tax. Do you not see that we all pay a heavy price for lies and broken promise's .When the grant money is gone and projects are done ,WHO PAYS, WE DO ...........

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rocknroll 2 years, 3 months ago

truthbtold your talking in circles because you got caught for being a phony. Just look at Suwanee where taxes have went down three years in a row. Snellville council tries to do the same thing and the mayor turns it into a circus. Say it any way you want the mayor causes all the trouble in Snellville. I will give you a list if you want.

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