Councilman Manuell Smith said he was not satisfied with the budget proposal. He said he would like to see raises removed for city employees and 10 percent more money appropriated to the city School System.
But Smith said he realized the council could get a majority vote to pass it without him.
“To me, it would be a waste of my time and a waste of our time since three (councilmen) have already agreed,” Smith said. “But I do not agree with the budget.”
Councilman Ken Horn said Sylacauga was already the highest paying employer in the city.
“Our employees get paid more than Blue Bell’s get paid and more than Nemak’s get paid,” Horn said. “I’m not begrudging our employees. I’d like everybody to make $100,000 a year. Imerys, the hospital, I know what everybody in town makes.”
Mayor Sam Wright said the council met several times to discuss the budget, and had a lot of “give and take” between the members who were present. Wright said it was the decision of Smith and Horn not to attend four called work sessions concerning the matter.
“We didn’t elect for you not to be at the meetings,” Wright said. “The dealings and the work we had to do went on, as long as we had a quorum there.”
Smith also took issue with discussions of a municipal bond proposal that would raise $2 million in funding for the city.
Wright said it was “part of the budget,” because it would affect the city’s finances.
At the beginning of the meeting, Wright made a statement to the council. He asked members to be respectful of city employees and each other.
“I’m doing this in the spirit of all of us working together,” he said. “It takes all of us to make it work.”
But Horn accused the mayor and other council members of not keeping him and Smith informed of what was going on with the city. He also said they were not included in discussions about local industries and businesses, Nemak, REEF and the IKO Shingles Plant, scheduled to begin construction.
“You guys don’t privilege Rev. Smith and me in stuff,” Horn said. “You guys forget to tell us, conveniently forget to tell us.”
Wright said he met with Nemak management last Thursday at their request, and he did not know anything about the IKO plant except they were supposed to break ground soon.
“I think this meeting has gone downhill,” he added.
The council’s next regular work session was set for 5:30 p.m. Monday, with the regular council meeting scheduled for Sept. 21.