Dunn’s budget got a do-over vote. The decision was still split, but it passed. Council members raised their hands to indicate their vote this time.
After some confusion over last week’s Dunn Council budget vote during a special-called meeting, another special-called meeting was held Monday by the Dunn City Council to clear up the vote.
Basically, council member Frank McLean said he voted against the budget, but no one heard him.
Mr. McLean was asked by The Daily Record immediately following last week’s meeting if he voted and he said, “I voted no.”
He told Mayor Oscar Harris the same thing the next day.
Following last week’s meeting, the vote on the budget appeared to be 4-to-2 with members Billy Barfield and Dr. Gwen McNeill voting in opposition. Mr. McLean was not heard voting one way or the other. Not voting results in an affirmative vote. If Mr. McLean had been heard voting no, it would have resulted in a 3-to-3 tie which would have resulted in a deciding vote from Mayor Harris.
Mayor Harris told The Daily Record Wednesday he did not hear Mr. McLean vote no so last Tuesday night he ruled it a 4-to-2 vote and declared the motion to approve the budget passed. A review of the recording from last week doesn’t show Mr. McLean voting no.
“I’m going to call a special-called meeting to clarify the vote,” Mayor Harris said. “I did not vote myself, but I was prepared to vote in the affirmative.”
Mayor Harris said it was important to get this straight, “especially since it’s the budget. I don’t want any confusion.
“Thank you for agreeing to come back and offer some clarity to our vote,” Mayor Harris said at the latest special-called meeting. “When I heard he voted no I was concerned about that. I wasn’t aware he did. I told him I wouldn’t hold him to it if he wanted to vote no.”
Mayor Harris, on the advice of the city attorney, rescinded his ruling on last week’s budget. He brought the vote back to the table. It didn’t even require a new motion. Mayor Harris did ask the members to raise their right hands when they voted. Council members Chuck Turnage’s earlier motion to pass the budget and a second from Buddy Maness was voted on again. Council member Billy Tart voted yes and council members McLean, McNeill and Barfield voted no. The vote was tied 3-to-3 and Mayor Harris voted to approve the budget.
The bone of contention in the budget was raising vehicle registration fees from $5 to $30. The money will be used for road improvements.
Also, council member Maness wanted to clear up some information he shared during last week’s meeting. He said the Powell Bill funding formula had been changed. Powell Bill is money given to towns by the state for road improvement. He said the formula had changed from per mile funding to per lane and that cities with more lanes got more money.
He learned later last week, the General Assembly never made that change. “I honestly thought it had,” he said.
He quoted a lyric from country singer Eric Church, “When you’re wrong you should just say so and I was wrong.”