Budget Planning Exposes Lingering Problems in Williston
WILLISTON - After numerous complaints, the Williston City Council is looking for ways to provide long awaited relief to high utility rates within the city.
Williston's Interim City Manager, Dr. Oel Wingo explains, "(City Council) would like to reduce the electric transfer to the city government general fund to give a relief to the electric rates that our citizens are paying."
The proposed 5 to 10 percent decrease in electric rates means around $45,000 to $80,000 fewer dollars for the city.
Wingo explains that cost cutting measures will make up for the rate change, but it'll come at the expense of city workers.
"The last few years, employees received bonuses that was taken off the board this morning, so there's about $70,000 right there," says Wingo.
A quick look through the preliminary budget shows plenty of cuts but a sharp increase in the salary of the position of city manager... a position that Wingo pursued a year ago but lost after failed salary negotiations.
Former council president for the city of Williston Debra Jones explains, "she wanted $20,000 more than the manager we ended up hiring, and she was willing to outsource or layoff employees in order to find that $20,000 for her salary."
One year later and layoffs are again on the bargaining table, and Wingo may be up for the job.
"I actually attended the meeting when the City Council considered her for the position, and I made sure that they were aware not only of what charges are being bought before her by the ethics commission, but also reminded them of the circumstances under which she left the city office," Jones says.
The State Ethics Commission is investigating accusations that Wingo misused her position as city manager in Holly Hill.
Williston will hold a millage rate meeting on July 31.
A special election will be held to fill the council president position on August 7.
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