The Blue Ridge City Council held its regular monthly workshop meeting on December 10th. The recent issues with voting remains a topic of discussion.
Sunday sales and adopting the City’s budget were on the agenda for the meeting as well. The council quickly adopted the new budget for the city. This budget reflects a $32,372 raise from last year’s total revenue. This increase is a result of more tax dollars that will be brought into the city.
The next big ticket item on the agenda was the purchase of two new tractors. The tractors cost will be funded by SPLOST money.
City manager Bill Sowers spoke regarding the request of the tractors. Stating that they are in the budget for next year, but wanted the city to go ahead and a approve now so the machines would be ready for pickup by the beginning of the year.
Restaurant owners were in attendance to ask the council to put Sunday sales on a ballot after being turned down by the City Attorney. Earlier in the year, the restaurant owners asked City Attorney David Syfan if the council could vote it in or whether it would need to go to a ballot. The council later agreed to move ahead with the process to make a referendum possible in March or April of 2014.
The meeting was proceeding smoothly until Councilman Rodney Kendall asked about an invoice the city had received from County Attorney Lynn Doss.
The invoice was a result of the county taking over the last election of the city. Kendall asked if it was possible that the city receive a more detailed version of the bill. Mayor Donna Whitener said she would ask Doss to provide one.
Michael Eaton expressed his concerns that he did not know a check for such a large amount was written without his knowledge.
FYN spoke to Kendall who told us, “
I did not mean for the subject to get back on the election. I just wanted to see a more detailed bill from Ms. Doss is all.”
During the discussion regarding the expense from the election, Angie Arp, newly elected councilwoman, asked Sowers how much a normal election cost.
Sowers stated that it was around $1,000. Rhonda Thomas explained however that this did not cover the three workers that the city was supposed to hire that were never put in place.
Thomas said she wanted some type of write up put on the file of Ms. Smith, the election official that made double ballot mistakes.
Thomas and Arp did not appear to agree on the subject. Whitener and Eaton both spoke in an attempt to move the meeting along. During the meeting the council would vote to go ahead and write up Ms. Smith regardless of the investigation, however there is still an ongoing investigation by the Secretary of States Office.
See videos: First video depicting disagreement. The second shows the workshop in its entirety.