The council heard two separate budget proposals, one from Isley and one from its budget committee. The difference between the two was in the amount the city should pay Honeywell International for water meters and other equipment the city purchased in March 2008.
According to Isley, who is also the city’s chief financial officer, Springville is contractually obligated to pay $177,000 to Honeywell in the coming fiscal year. His proposed budget included that payment in full, and he also projected an additional $104,000 in sales tax revenue over the committee’s recommendation.
“We’re not all in agreement, but it is the recommendation of your mayor to pass this budget,” Isley said.
The council disagreed, voting down the proposal 6-2 (Councilman John Coyne voted for Isley’s proposal). Councilman Wayne Tucker, who was on the council when the Honeywell contract was approved, said he felt misled.
“I’ve regretted voting for (the contract) ever since that day,” Tucker said. “I’m old and I don’t like to be told something that’s not the truth.”
Herbert Toles, who was also on the council in 2008, echoed Tucker’s sentiment.
“I was here,” he said. “And I was misled.”
Councilman David Jones was not on the council in 2008, but he is one of the city’s representatives on the budget committee now. He said the committee favored negotiating terms with the company.
“I respect what (Isley) is saying,” he said. “We don’t have an unlimited pot of money. I’m not saying we don’t ever want to pay them; we just want to try and extend this out. That’s why we’ve proposed budgeting a lesser amount.”
Jones moved to pass the budget recommended by the committee, which projects just a little more than $3.85 million in revenue and expenditures for the coming fiscal year. It passed 7-1, with only Isley dissenting.
“I believe it’s a very balanced, conservative budget,” Councilman Brian Skinner said. “I feel like after the second quarter, maybe around April 15 or so, we’ll probably need to look at it again, but I feel very comfortable with it.”
The council was complimentary of Isley and of the various improvements taking place in the city, including upgrades at the city park and the construction of a new sports complex.
“We’re not supposed to hoard the citizens’ money,” Isley said. “We’re here to spend it effectively. We want to keep the city moving forward, and it’s only moving forward through the efforts of the mayor and council working together.”
Tucker credited previous administrations for saving money.
“The last two administrations, we didn’t spend any money,” he said. “We saved. If we hadn’t done that, we wouldn’t have $4 million to spend.”
The new budget includes a projected $1.5 million for the water department, up from $950,000 in 2011, owing to the city’s participation in the Coosa Valley Water Supply District. The city recently passed a 1 cent sales tax increase to cover that expense.
In other business, the council:
• Approved an amendment to its Alcoholic Beverage Regulations Ordinance, which will require a background check by the city for any license application, as well as a representative from the business visiting the council for questioning.
• Approved a contract with St. Clair County for paving at the new senior center.
• Approved a $250 contribution to the Audi White Fund for cancer research.
• Approved the minutes of the regular meeting of Sept. 19.
Contact Will Heath at email@example.com.