SNELLVILLE -- City Manager Butch Sanders said Monday that the $10,244,909 budget presented to Mayor Kelly Kautz, council members and residents is balanced, the product of the hard work of city staff department heads.
'We had to dig to find dollars, but we did it," Sanders said.
The next fiscal year budget reflects the addition of a new Public Information Officer and a police dispatch position. The dispatch job will be funded using money from the Service Delivery Strategy settlement between Gwinnett County and the cities in the county.
Sanders also added, following a question posed by resident Marcy Pharris, that there is an across-the-board 2 percent pay raise included in the new budget. He also stated that he intends to have an evaluation of city salaries done by the end of the first quarter of 2014.
Snellville Public Arts Commission contributes to Veterans Memorial
Council members voted to purchase a flame tower sculpture to be placed in the Snellville Veterans Memorial, at a cost of $5,000. The council also voted to move ahead with a $1,000 purchase of materials and services for display cases at City Hall.
Mayor and council butt heads over board appointment, ongoing allegations
Kautz nominated Claudette Forbes for Post 5 of the Snellville Board of Appeals on Monday. That post is currently held by Marilyn Swinney. Mayor Pro Tem Tom Witts apologized publicly to Forbes, being "put in this position" and used by the mayor to seek revenge on longtime volunteer Swinney.
"There's only one reason (Swinney) has not been reappointed, and it's despicable," Witts said. Addressing Forbes, Witts said, "I'd be the first to nominate you to any open position in the city, but this is a matter of loyalty."
Later in the meeting, Witts publicly asked Forbes to consider serving on the city's Urban Redevelopment Authority, but Kautz attempted to silence Witts by saying that the mayor makes all nominations.
The council meeting deteriorated into charges and counter-charges of lying, as the hours passed. Councilman Bobby Howard pointed to a "self-aggrandizing" press release circulated by Kautz and Sabbagh about the upcoming Flag Day celebration. According to Howard, Sanders had already prepared a press release on behalf of the city, inviting residents to join city leaders for a June 14 Flag Day celebration. Then Howard displayed a press release presented on letterhead from the mayor's office, from Kautz and Sabbagh, which read as though the Flag Day celebration were being presented by the mayor and councilman.
Kautz then displayed emails that she claims support her assertion that council members were, in fact, aware of her hiring of the law firm Cruser & Mitchell LLP, to defend the city (not her personally) when Swinney sued because Kautz would not allow her to speak in an open public forum at a 2012 council meeting.
Kautz later produced cellphone records and a videotape that she claims support the fact that she was not, in fact, getting her nails done during a sign tour of other Gwinnett cities. She then accused "two board members" (Pharris and Swinney) of going to the court where Kautz claimed to be when she missed another city event, accusing the two women of posing as investigators and asking to see a judge to verify Kautz's claims.
Pharris and Swinney both, addressing Kautz publicly said, "You're a liar."