The $688 million City of Greensboro 2022-2023 budget is expected to pass by a split vote at the Tuesday, June 21 City Council meeting.
At the work session on June 14, five City Councilmembers – Yvonne Johnson, Tammi Thurm, Nancy Hoffmann, Sharon Hightower and Marikay Abuzuaiter – all said they would vote for the massive budget with the largest tax increase in the history of Greensboro.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan and City Councilmember and mayoral candidate Justin Outling and City Councilmember Hugh Holston all indicated that the tax increase of 8.69 cents over the revenue neutral rate was too high and they would not support the budget.
Councilmember Goldie Wells did not state a position.
Vaughan said Tuesday that she expected the budget to pass by a 6-3 or 7-2 vote and that she would be voting no.
However, if the budget were to pass with a 5-4 vote, then the City Council would have to schedule a special meeting to vote on the budget a second time. By law an ordinance has to pass by a super majority of at least six votes or pass by a simple majority twice at two different meetings.
Vaughan also said that following the advice of City Attorney Chuck Watts, members of the City Council would not be recused from voting for allocations to nonprofit organizations where they serve on the board.
A new law passed by the North Carolina legislature requires elected officials who work for or serve on the boards of nonprofit organizations to be recused from voting on allocations to those organizations.
However, Vaughan said that because the budget ordinance only sets aside the money to be allocated and does not actually allocate the funds that members of the City Council would vote on the entire budget.
According to Vaughan, when the actual allocation of the money is made, members of the City Council will be recused from those votes.
Vaughan noted that she is on the board of Downtown Greensboro Inc. and the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, both of which receive allocations from the City of Greensboro. But based on the advice from Watts, she would not ask to be recused from voting on those portions of the budget.
Remember these deals are made in the back halls. Those voting yes are protecting those voting no.
Johnson should not be allowed to vote. She should be forced to recuse herself as she is voting on money that will support her do nothing non-profit. Step up council, make her do the right thing.
Hope the NC Legislature is paying attention of how the law “ A new law passed by the North Carolina legislature requires elected officials who work for or serve on the boards of nonprofit organizations to be recused from voting on allocations to those organizations.” is being undermined by the GSO City council. Maybe the vote on the budget needs to be challenged in court.
Note to Eric Robert, Mayor Vaughn is on the board of Downtown Greensboro Inc. Why are DGI’s records not public records? DGI and City Council are intertwined.