Council approves raising millage and $29 million budget

Thomas Simms addresses council

Resident Thomas Simms expresses his displeasure with the Crestview City Council Tuesday evening for failing to address problems that he said led to the city's current budget difficulties.

BRIAN HUGHES / News Bulletin
Published: Tuesday, September 10, 2013 at 07:16 PM.

CRESTVIEW — On two 3-2 votes, the City Council has approved a .25 percent increase in property taxes and a $29,110,313.35 budget.

Council President Robyn Helt and Councilman Tom Gordon voted nay on both resolutions.

The motions to adopt the tax increase and budget were both made by Councilman Shannon Hayes and seconded by Councilman Joe Blocker. Councilman Mickey Rytman also voted in favor of the resolutions.

Crestview resident Thomas Simms chastised the council for not addressing operational issues that led to the increased budget and for failing to curb personnel expenses.

"It's impossible to live with 80 percent of the budget going to personnel," Simms said. "If my mortgage was 80 percent of my income, I couldn't survive."

After the vote, Helt, who had strongly implored her fellow council members to address these and other issues, said, 'I'm disgusted. I might as well trade in my car and go back to horse-and-buggy days."

During discussion she cautioned that increasing taxes without addressing operational issues was "unsustainable."

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