The YMCA meeting room was packed Tuesday night as over 50 residents filed in to hear the City Council discuss Peachtree Corners $2.7 million proposed budget.
The second public hearing was held to allow residents to speak on the budget which has ballooned to three times the figures proposed in the Carl Vincent Institute study.
Mayor Mike Mason explained in his opening remarks that understanding the difference in the CVI study's figures and what has been proposed is a little "like unringing a bell," because of the perception that the CVI study represented the actual proposed budget.
"Start up costs were not included in the CVI," said Mason which he pointed out explained part of the increase in the budget. Other items including setting aside money for legal expenses, were another of many items not figured in to the CVI study. "Everybody sues a new city," said Mason in explaining the $131,000 for legal fees outlined in the budget.
The City Council tabled a motion to vote on the budget Tuesday night as Post 2 council member Jay Lowe was not present and the new City Council wanted all members to be on hand to cast their votes. The City Council added and approved several sections in the budget:
- Mid year budget review to make any needed adjustment
- Use a zero-based budget so that each year the items must be re-evaluated
- Include a fund-balance reserve to cover such issues as unforseen emergencies and budget shortages
Stepping up to speak during the Public Hearing portion of the meeting was Ed Styles who felt the compensation package for the employees was excessive and not in line with what most people in the private sector would be given.
Another concern was the proposed call center which he felt was unnecessary and suggested an answering machine that directed callers to leave a message for someone at City Hall or redirect them to the county depending on their query was more in line. "We don't need a $100,000 call center," said Styles whose remarks were met with loud applause.
The second resident to speak was Mim Harris who "urged the City Council to reject this budget" adding the expenses outlined were excessive and not in line with the CVI study.
Allen Peel addressed the City Council expressing his frustration over the fact that the council could not respond to the residents during the meetings and also felt a number of the items in the budget were excessive.
"I don't think you did your homework," he told the City Council. "you led people astray."
The City Council has scheduled a Special Called Meeting for Thursday, June 28, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. to be held at the , for a third and final look at the budget. The City Council is expected to decide by vote whether to pass the budget at that time.