Tempers flare at packed city council meeting over budget - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Tempers flare at packed city council meeting over budget

In a city that only has 1,500 people, hundreds were at the meeting and 50 to 60 people signed up to speak. In a city that only has 1,500 people, hundreds were at the meeting and 50 to 60 people signed up to speak.

AUDUBON PARK, KY (WAVE) – There were all kinds of fireworks at the Audubon Park city council meeting Monday night. From applause to boos, to name calling and even a council member walking out. The issue at hand was the city budget and how it is being managed.  

In a letter sent to Audubon Park residents on Saturday, Mayor Michael Scalise  acknowledged that the city charged residents nearly double for their sanitation fees this year. The mayor says the city intends to return the overage  on next year's tax notices, but some citizens feel that they have been overcharged for several years now.

In a city that only has 1,500 people, hundreds were at the meeting and 50 to 60 people signed up to speak. At times it got out of hand. Councilman Al Huber even flipped a resident an obscene hand gesture after he felt as if he was being provoked. He then walked out, but returned to the meeting after a few minutes and made a public apology calling the  speaker a bad name. 

Aside from some personal vendettas on display, many residents voiced their concerns about transparency and urged that the mayor and city council be more open.

On the council now, there are five new council members that were just elected this year. They made it a point to tell the citizens they are in good hands and they have the best intentions to get the mismanaged funds figured out.  

The mayor says $172,00 has already been cut from the budget by cutting one full time police officer and making the city clerk's position part time. They also plan to cut all benefits for all city employees.  

The mayor said that the whole point of the meeting was to admit that mistakes were made and that they are being corrected now.

"We thought we were doing the right thing as a city administration," said Scalise. "We thought we were doing the right thing, we realized and found out know that we haven't and we figured out now that's where we are."

That wasn't enough for some residents.

"The money was mismanaged obviously it was apparently knowingly done. Unfortunately and while the intentions may have been good under the law that doesn't matter," said an Audubon Park resident. 

"Everybody wants to know where the road money went and was that legal and how are we going to replace it," said another resident.

The council did approve a motion to move the sanitation fees into a separate account and out of the general fund.

Copyright 2013 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.

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