Prattville city council at standstill over budget

PRATTVILLE, AL (WSFA) - Still no budget in Prattville and residents are starting to get anxious. Council members were expected to pass an extension to the 1-cent sales tax which would pave the way for a possible budget vote. Instead no action was taken.

Mark Rhodes--President of the Prattville Firefighter's Union has been to the last few meetings and is used to the council's indecision.

But he says operating without a budget makes his and others' jobs more difficult.

"It's either hiring, promotions, everyday operations...trying to deal without that budget."

Right now the City of Prattville is operating under an emergency spending plan because council members can't agree on how long to extend the 1-cent sales tax--which makes up a bulk of the proposed 2012 budgets.

Councilman Dean Argo proposed an ordinance that would extend it through September 2012, and reduce it to a 1/2-cent the next year.

"It will encourage the Mayor, department heads, council members, city employees, to curb their spending as much as possible."

Councilman Ray Boles disagreed--wanting to extend the 1-cent all the way through 2013.

"If we pass the one percent and then the half cent we are again betting on the economy. And I'm not a betting man," said Boles.

Neither proposal passed.

"It is 3-3. That is not a majority and the proposal fails," said Council President Mike Renegar.

"We're absolutely just wowed right what's going on," says Rhodes.

Rhodes isn't the only one surprised. Prattville Mayor Bill Gillespie is, too. But he is trying to stay optimistic.

"We're going to be less efficient without a budget, but also on the positive note of that is when you don't have a budget you look at things a lot closer."

While others urge council members to make up their minds.

"It just seems to me that y''re at a complete standstill," says one resident.

Council President Mike Renegar says he will propose the ordinance again.  He believes it will pass at the next meeting, along with the budget.

Until then, the city will continue operating under their emergency spending plan.

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