Montgomery City Council Approves Budget

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - With a 6 to 2 vote, the Montgomery City Council approved Mayor Bobby Bright's $227 million budget without a single change. "I'm very pleased," said Mayor Bright. However, Mayor Bright is not pleased with the council.

The city council voted to raise the garbage collection fee. "It's an inappropriate time because you don't raise taxes on the people when the economy is bad," said Bright.

The fee amounts to four dollars a month. Residents say during these tough times every dollar out of their pocket hurts. One told WSFA 12 News, "There has to be other ways than raising the garbage tax."

Mayor Bright promised to veto the garbage fee hike and an approved rental and leasing tax on everything from tuxedos to rental cars. Councilwoman Martha Roby, the only member to vote against the proposals, says a veto is the right thing to do. She says, "The cost is to the residents of Montgomery who are already struggling. Now, we've put a bigger burden on them."

However, Roby disagrees with how the mayor balanced the budget - draining the city's $14 million reserve fund.  The council members who voted for the fee hikes say the money raised from those increases would return what the mayor took out. "We hope the reserve fund is doing exactly what it is doing, what we planned for it to, to cover the bad times," said Bright.

It takes a majority to override the mayor's veto. Council members tell us they'll have the vote.   The city council also approved a fee increase for using the city's landfill. However, it postponed taking a vote on changes to the business license code.