PRATTVILLE, AL (WSFA) - Prattville City Council members voted Tuesday night to borrow $3.1 million to satisfy a bond payment due next Monday. The bond issues provided millions of dollars for incentives to lure retail development to the area along Cobbs Ford Road, and also to make capital improvements. But after the vote, council members expressed dissatisfaction with how the council and the city got to this point.
"The last three weeks, the last month has been an exercise in bad government," Council President Dean Argo said. "We haven't done a very good job."
"Mr. Mayor, you've been disingenuous with this council," Councilman Tom Gillespie said. "And with that said I feel you owe the council and the city an apology."
Mayor Jim Byard disagreed with Gillespie's statements. He said he's been forthright with the council throughout the process.
"We've been very forthcoming. It's been a tough two weeks down here," Byard said. "You can be part of the problem or part of the solution. I'm going to be part of the solution and we're going to move forward."
Part of the solution is to cut a million dollars from the city budget. Council members say that would allow the city to remain on solid financial ground to meet future bond payments.
"I'm confident that based on the discussions that the council has had, based on the discussions that we've had with the mayor, that going forward the decisions we make from here on out will be complete, and they will be accurate," Argo said.
Residents say that's something they hope to see.
"They are trying to make it right, but I'm not sure a million dollars in budget cuts are going to provide the cash flow to pay this ongoing debt," said Dr. Gerald Cimis, a Prattville resident.
The city does have another debt payment due in and another large debt payment due in November 2011. The council will meet over the next few weeks to decide what to cut to balance the budget. And have a final budget by the first of the year.