In a 3-1 vote, the Baldwin City Council approved a $1.77 million general fund budget and a one mill increase in the city’s millage rate at a called meeting on Tuesday night, July 1.
Council member Rodney King voted in opposition to the action. Council members Beverly Holcomb and Robert Bohannon and Interim Mayor Ray Holcomb voted in favor of the motion. Council member Jeff Murray was absent.
The general fund budget gives the city’s employees a three percent raise for this year. However, city employees will not receive a Christmas bonus.
The one mill increase in the millage rate will bring the total to nine mills.
The council has discussed the proposed general fund budget and the millage rate increase at two public hearings held recently.
At the meeting on Tuesday, when Holcomb called for a motion on the proposed budget, Phyllis Marshall, Baldwin property owner, said, “I have some additional information that I think you need to see.”
Holcomb said it was a voting item and not an open discussion.
“You are out of order,” he said. “We have already had the public hearings on this.”
Marshall said, “I think Mr. King and Mr. Murray would like to see this.”
Marshall continued to state she had information they needed to see. At this time, Holcomb asked Baldwin Police Chief Daren Osborn to escort Marshall out of the building. Osborn walked Marshall to the door. As she was leaving and some other residents were entering the meeting, she stated that she had been kicked out of the meeting.
After the meeting was officially adjourned, Baldwin resident Jeff Harris said, “I myself was not aware of the public hearings on the budget. This appears to have been a cut and dried situation.”
Holcomb explained that the meeting times were published in the local newspaper.
“We have held two public hearings on this and heard folks comments on this,” Holcomb said.
Harris said, “You know what that makes it appear like? You don’t want to hear what the people have to say.”
Holcomb said, “You come to one meeting a year and you can’t solve everything in one meeting.”