Watkinsville Mayor Bob Smith has vetoed the city budget passed unanimously by the Watkinsville City Council. Smith had earlier called for a 12 percent reduction in the city spending plan, citing a revenue shortfall of more than $146,000.
“The City Council ignored this request and instead attempted to balance the budget by dipping into reserve funds and anticipating that we will receive CARES funding from the federal government,” he said. Smith has requested a legal opinion from the City Attorney regarding whether city funds and reserves can be used to balance the budget when there is a deficiency. “This question remains to be answered,” Smith noted.
The initial budget the City Council approved would take an estimated combined $240,873 dollars from the city funds and reserves (savings account) in 2020 and 2021 to make up for the budget shortfalls.
Smith submitted a revised budget to the Council on Tuesday with more than $158,000 in cuts.
“I am fully aware the Council may override this veto, but I ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility,” Smith said. “Draining our reserves and counting on taxpayer money from the federal government is not fiscally responsible.”