SORRENTO - The Town Council rebuffed new Mayor Wilson Longanecker Jr.’s proposed changes to the fiscal 2011-12 budget, throwing its support instead to a nearly $1.1 million plan lacking significant input from the mayor.
The 2011-12 budget approved Monday calls for expenditures of $1.078 million, a 4.2 percent increase over the final budget for the current fiscal year that ends June 30.
That increase comes on top of an increase built into the 2010-11 budget. Total expenditures in the final 2010-11 budget, which was adopted last week, represent a 4.8 percent increase over an earlier budget for 2010-11.
Revenues are projected to rise apace with the expenditure increases both in the fiscal 2010-11 revision and the 2011-12 budget.
Longanecker, who took office June 7, also drew fire Monday for his handling of a former employee of the developers of Orange Grove subdivision, who are late on a $100,000 payment to the city.
Tony Bull, the one-time representative of the developer of Orange Grove, accused the mayor of slander and libel.
In a June 7 meeting, Longanecker read a 2010 letter to the council that accused Bull of lying about the project. In an interview Tuesday, Longanecker stood by his letter, saying it was backed up.
On Monday, Bull had disputed the allegations, saying Orange Grove is a good project that has not cost the town any money and that it was approved with council backing.
Bull, addressing the council Monday, did not tell the council where the late money might be, saying he refuses to speak with the mayor but would speak to the council.
Renaissance Orange Grove promised to pay the Police and Fire departments $150,000 by June 2 as part of a deal several years ago to annex the project and relieve it of parish requirements such as sidewalks.
Renaissance, which has Santa Fe-based investors, has paid $50,000 but not the rest, town officials have said
Scarce funding for police and fire coverage were discussed during budget negotiations.
Longanecker suggested minor changes for engineering and attorney’s fees and a shift in $10,000 in funding from the Police Department to the Fire Department and for lighting.
Police Chief Earl Theriot Jr. objected, however, due to rising personnel costs. On a motion from Councilman Randy Anny, the council backed the budget proposal, 5-0, preserving Theriot’s funding levels.