Monterey council approves budget
Monterey, Va. – The Monterey Town Council approved the Town budget at its meeting on June 28.
As published in the Recorder newspaper in late May, the Town budget includes a general category in the amount of $124,664 and a water and sewer category of $382,937. At the early June meeting and again at the public hearing, there was concern expressed by members of the audience over the $35,000 deficit projected in the water and sewer category. The budget that was passed at the meeting on June 28 was not significantly different from that originally appearing in the Recorder newspaper.
The Council then took up a discussion of the proposed new town charter. Mayor Janice Warner read several parts of the proposed charter to the Council members and the group paused after certain sections for discussion. Here Mayor Warner reads the section covering the change in number of council members from six to three.
“There shall be elected on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, 2014, and every four years thereafter, from the qualified voters of the Town of Monterey, one elector who shall be designated the Mayor and three electors who shall be designated the Councilmen,” read Mayor Warner from the proposed town charter.
“That’s where we need to decide if that’s what (the number) you all decide on,” Warner added.
“They shall qualify by taking the oath prescribed by law before entering on the duties of their offices on the first day of January after their election. They shall hold their offices for the term of four years, or until their successors are elected and qualified.”
The council then started a discussion on the procedure for appointing a replacement member in the case of an elected member resigning from the council. During this discussion, Councilman Tony Stinnett made a suggestion, followed by comments from Councilman Dowdy and the Mayor.
“I don’t know about the rest of the Council, but I’d like to look at this a little further. I’d like to table it and take some more time with it,” said Councilman Stinnett. “I know it has been in effect since 1952 and I don’t see why we got to rush right into it tonight.”
“I agree, I really had no time to go over it,” added Councilman Don Dowdy. “I’d like to look at it (the proposed charter) with the old one and pick at it myself,” said Councilman Stinnett.
“We have to do the same thing with this as the budget,” said Mayor Warner. “It has to be advertised and we have to have a public hearing. And we don’t meet in July, so that takes us to August. So we have to probably do something in August or September if were are going to get it done during this (coming) General Assembly, this next year.”
Several Council members said that they thought that three council members plus the mayor would be an even number that would allow for tie votes in the future, so they suggested that a total of five including the Mayor would be better.
Councilman Stinnett also requested that Town Attorney Melissa Dowd be asked to go over the charter before it is discussed further. He made a motion to table discussion of the charter until council members have more time to look over the proposed new charter and to have Town Attorney Melissa Dowd review the charter and give her suggestions. The motion was passed.
According to Roberts Rules, once a group tables an issue, that issue cannot be discussed further at that meeting unless a motion to bring the issue off the table is approved. The Council was apparently unaware of this part of Roberts Rules since they continued their discussion of the charter for much of the remainder of the meeting.
In other business, the Council also discussed why the water meters were read two weeks late in May. Councilman Dale Hammer suggested that Mike Isles should be informed that meters need to be read on time in the future.
The Monterey Town Council is not meeting in the month of July, so the next regular meeting will be Thursday, August 2 at 7:30 pm in the Highland Public Library.