Retiring City Clerk Willa Kramer administers the oath of office to aldermen Ellie Carson, Judi Colter, Punkie Stevenson, and mayor Donnie Pruett. (photo credit: Amanda Mendez) Mayor pro tem and appointed West Ward alderman Bobby Brooks takes the oath of office. (photo credit: Amanda Mendez)

New Mayor, New Council, New Ideas, and No Budget Yet

The Mountain View City Council met on Monday, June 8 for its first meeting featuring a newly elected Board of Aldermen and Mayor. The first order of business was to swear in the officials. For the East Ward One, Ellie Carson, for the East Ward Two, Judi Colter, for the West Ward, Punkie Stevenson, and as mayor, Donnie Pruett each took their oath of office and then their seats on the platform. 
Mayor Pruett’s election left a vacancy for a West Ward alderman. As such, the mayor presented to the Board Bobby Brooks as his appointment for both alderman and mayor pro tem. The Board unanimously voted in favor of appointing Brooks to these two positions. 
There was some dissent from the crowd on the subject of a mayor’s appointment in lieu of “public input” choosing the replacement aldermen. After being invited to expand on his ideas by Alderwoman Carson, one citizen expressed concern about “a mayor with too much authority.”
The meeting proceeded to the next agenda item without further incident. Jeremy Phipps addressed the city council on the subject of funding for youth activities. He presented information from Jennifer Foster of the Mountain View Youth Center about the center’s monthly budget and expenses, as well as the activities they put on for children. Ultimately, Phipps asked the council to find around $30,000 in the municipal budget to better fund the youth center. His request was favorably received by the council, and Mayor Pruett asked Phipps to present a specific budget proposal for consideration. Phipps agreed and intends to present a proposal soon, promising the council, “I’m going to stay on you.”
City Administrator Mike Wake presented a working budget document to the council. As an entirely new Board, the aldermen took the opportunity to ask Wake specific questions about revenue streams and line items in the working document. In essence, the document was presented as a “Christmas list budget” said Wake. Department heads submitted budgets expecting that non-essential items would be cut from it. At the June 8 meeting, the Council could not approve the budget as presented.
“In my opinion, it’s nothing but a fake budget,” said Alderwoman Colter, “and it’s gonna stop while I’m here.”
The Board planned a meeting on June 15 for an additional budget work session. Mayor Pruett promised, “If we don’t have [a budget] by the 22nd, we will have meetings every other day until it’s done.”
The meeting continued with a presentation of two proposed ordinance changes from Alderwoman Carson. The first proposed change would extend the sale of alcohol inside the city limits of Mountain View until 1:30 a.m. to put businesses inside the city on a level playing field with businesses over the border.
The next proposed change would be a rewrite of the fireworks ordinance that would redefine fireworks themselves to match modern materials and establish a log of permits for fireworks use in the city limits to aid law enforcement who may be responding to noise complaints. 
The aldermen at large received the changes favorably, but without a re-written statute to present, the council must wait to vote these changes. 
The council adjourned into a closed session for personnel matters in which Willa Clark confirmed her pending retirement, and the Council approved Courtney McDaniels as the new City Clerk. For more on the closed session, see GOVERNMENT SHAKE-UP on page 1.

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