A divided Bryant city council passes budget hours before deadline

BRYANT (KATV) -{}The city of Bryant passed a budget for the year in an emergency meeting Friday night.

It had{}been a long day for city officials{}Friday night{}as they scrambled to put together a budget for the year. That was accomplished in time for the midnight deadline but not without leaving many residents embarrassed for the people they elected to represent them.

A completed budget was passed but not without much bickering, disagreements, and heated exchanges.

"It's shining a light on the city of Bryant that it doesn't deserve," said Jerry Henson, a 26-year resident of the city.

"It is about time we stop bickering amongst ourselves and put Bryant first," said Mayor Jill Dabbs during the meeting.

At the end of what turned into a tense meeting city council finally passed a budget that included some cuts.

"Are there cuts that are extraordinary? Are there cuts that are going to affect city services? No," said Mayor Dabbs.

$200,000 that was going to be used for fire department pay grade salaries will no longer be considered this year and projects at Mills Park will be delayed.

"I just think we hit and miss sometimes but there's definitely going to be some different opinions up here," said Adrian Henley, a city council member.

Henson says there's a difference between differing opinions and immaturity.

"They need to lock themselves in a room until they work it out and come back out and go to work it out," said Henson. "They need to grow up."

Toward the end of the meeting Mayor Dabbs did read a statement regarding how council members took votes during the past several weeks:

"It is apparent to me certain votes recently could not have happened without council members communicating in private.I want to remind you all that communication between council members in private about pending city business is a violation of state law.{}{}I understand that there are members who disagree with me, and some of these disputes are based on our partisan differences.{}{}In the words of Governor Mike Huckabee its time we put down the weapons of partisanship and pick up the tools of partnership.It is time we stop the friction amongst ourselves and put Bryant first. Last year I gave each of you this questionnaire in hopes of identifying what is it we all agree upon for which to apply our efforts. In the spirit of partnership, I am asking you Council again to work with me to identify what is positive in which we can work together to accomplish. Two of these were returned last year, I look forward to receiving all 8 this year." Mayor Dabbs.