HOBSON CITY — Town Council members during a work session on Monday considered a draft copy of the town’s budget for the next fiscal year, but refused to make the document public.
Mayor Alberta McCrory said she could not share the plan for how she and the town’s other elected officials will spend taxpayer money because that plan is still under construction.
“We’re not finished with what we need to put in the budget,” McCrory said after a Town Council meeting that followed the work session.
She and the town’s clerk, Pauline Cunningham, made copies of the draft budget, such as it was Monday night, and shared those copies with four members of the Town Council for review. Council members Freddie Striplin, Susie Jones, Deneva Barnes and Joe Cunningham were present for the work session; O’Mildred Ball was absent.
During the discussion that followed, McCrory said that the spending plan lacked information on projected revenue. Council members asked questions about how much is spent on the town government’s power bill each month, and learned that the document had some errors.
Cunningham, the clerk, said she’d made a few mistakes, but would correct them.
Council members spent nearly half an hour on the budget, which McCrory hopes to have ready for final review when the body next meets on Oct. 9. After the work session, she and the members took a break to take pictures in Town Hall for use on the town’s social media pages.
Business then resumed. Council members had little to report, but learned from McCrory that workers with Anniston Water Works & Sewer Board had repaired a leaky water pipe along Pyle Avenue.
McCrory said she’d also learned that a church congregation on the town’s west side had been paying that utility for sewer service for approximately five years, but church members recently learned the building had a septic tank.
The town would have to pay back the money the church had paid for the service, McCrory said.
Striplin called that unfair. McCrory noted that this would mark the second time the town has paid for sewer services never rendered: the council agreed to pay a resident $1,351 in November.
McCrory said later that she wasn’t sure how much the town would need to pay back to Church of God By Faith, and that she’d need to check with Anniston Water Works.
Whether others among the town’s residents are paying for services they aren’t receiving is also “something we need to check,” McCrory said.
In other business, the council:
- Approved a proclamation recognizing October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, at the request of the Anniston nonprofit 2nd Chance. The group provides emergency and long-term shelter for victims of domestic violence.
- Allowed McCrory to buy a new refrigerator for the Hobson City Senior Center. The price is unknown, but expected to be between $600 and $800.
- Raised the fee for a business license within the town from $5 to $10. The change is meant to take effect before the first of the next year, McCrory said.