May 31, 2016
This morning the following email message was received from Gene Trammell concerning the blog, “$9,967,090 BUDGET ADOPTED BY BOC ILLEGALLY.”
From: gtrammell jaspercountyga.org [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, May 31, 2016 8:47 AM
To: Mary Patrick
Just for the record, what we did was not illegal. I do not understand why you persist in reporting half truth and pure lies. We did not vote to advertise a budget, we voted on a millage rate that we could live with. We working with a 16 mill, 16.25, and 16.64 mill all of which are more than a mill lower than last year. The three two vote was based not on budget but on use of fund balance.
It doesn’t bother me what you write as long as you are truthful and do not insinuate things that are not true.
I’m not mad, just disappointed because I know you know, but purposely choose to make an issue where no issue lies. If you remember, the question was not “who will make a motion to approve a budget, it was, who will propose a millage rate.
Here is the response to his email:
From: Mary Patrick
Sent: Tuesday, May 31, 2016 10:07 AM
To: ‘gtrammell jaspercountyga.org’
Subject: RE: budget
I did not lie or choose to make an issue where no issue lies. The issue is the public has been completely shut out of the budget process.
To help you recall what happened:
The motion was, “I’ll make one. I make a motion for the millage rate to be set at 16.446 and the proposed FY 2017 budget to be $9,967,090.” –Craig Salmon
It doesn’t matter what you “called for”, this is what the motion was and what was approved, with you voting for it.
And you did intend to approve the budget because here’s what was said at the meeting and was videotaped. Comm. Henry, “You said the reason for this meeting was to approve the budget.” Comm. Trammell, “Yeah.” Comm. Henry, “It’s to look at the budget, I don’t know if we are actually going to approve it but we’re going to look at it.” Comm. Trammell, “Well, I hope we do.”
And with a vote of 3-2 you did approve it.
Comm. Trammell is correct, they did not vote to advertise a budget. The exact point of our last blog. Comm. Trammell then says the vote was about the use of “fund balance,” not on the budget. Sorry, Gene, but there was no mention of “fund balance” in the motion.
So what is true? Was the FY17 budget passed on May 23, 2016 or not?
Here are some facts to consider:
- An Open Records request asking for a copy of the FY 17 budget was received from Mike Benton stating, “Find attached a pdf of the FY 2017 budget book that was approved 5-23-16.”
- This video shows Comm. Henry’s concern about Comm. Trammell saying they were at the meeting to pass the budget:
- This video shows Comm. Salmon making the motion, which includes approving the proposed budget of $9,967,090:
We have also posted below a 10 minute long video of a conversation that the Sheriff and the BOC had AFTER the vote on the millage and the budget (one vote) was taken. During this conversation, Sheriff Pope keeps asking about his budget—why would he even be asking about it if it had not already been approved??
Please note the following on the video at the times listed:
@ beginning—“I know you voted on a rate and an amount.”
@4:18—“We did the bottom line number and it isn’t going to change.”
@4:40—“We just voted on…. and established that in the budget.”
@6:50—Mike Benton explains what was approved.
The question is, “Did they approve the budget or not?” The facts and the videos show they did, and despite what he says, Comm. Trammell certainly intended to do so at that meeting. The problem is, he and the BOC just didn’t do it properly.
Instead of just saying, “Hey, we failed to do it properly, but we’re going to advertise and hold a public hearing and approve it properly;” Trammell has come up with the excuse it didn’t even happen.
You decide, was the budget approved or not?