Missing one commissioner, Red Bank in budget deadlock

Missing one commissioner, Red Bank in budget deadlock

June 5th, 2014 by Alex Harris in Local Regional News

Red Bank commissioner Floy Pierce speaks during a city council meeting in this file photo.

Photo by Doug Strickland/Times Free Press.

Red Bank city commissioners couldn't agree on two key items this week - the appointment of a commissioner to the vacant District 3 seat and the first reading of the 2015 budget.

The four commissioners named four nominees but deadlocked on their votes, with Mayor John Roberts and Commissioner Eddie Pierce voting on one side and Vice Mayor Floy Pierce and Commissioner Rick Causer on the other.

When they got to the first reading of the budget Tuesday night, Pierce and Causer objected to passing a budget with some spending still undecided. The proposed budget does not increase property taxes.

Roberts said the commission must pass a budget by June 30. In previous years, he said, commissioners have approved unfinished budgets on first reading as a formality, then have voted on the finished product on second reading.

Roberts pointed out that if commissioners tabled the budget, they would have to have a called budget meeting later this month.

The budget failed on first reading by the same two-two split.

Pierce made a motion to table the budget until June 17 to give more time to finalize the document. Causer seconded the motion, which passed.

The next budget workshop is scheduled for Thursday at 5 p.m. at the Red Bank City Hall.

Several Red Bank citizens then spoke up, suggesting that the inability of the commission to come to a consensus on the budget is a good reason for why they need to be quick about appointing someone to the vacant seat.

Because commissioners have been unable to fill the vacant seat, the city will hold a special election, which is expected to cost at least $10,000. A date has not yet been set.

Two of the applicants for the vacant commission seat said after the meeting they intent to run for the seat: Ed LeCompte and Jon Baker. The other applicants were Becky Browder and Jane Hosemann.

Contact staff writer Alex Harris at aharris@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6592.