BIG SANDY (TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH) -- Opponents of the Upshur County Appraisal District's proposed budget for 2014 moved a step closer to achieving their goal today when the Big Sandy City Council voted 3-2 to veto the budget, becoming at least the fourth taxing entity of nine needed to approve a veto resolution.
Mayor Nancy Church cast the tiebreaking vote at a specially called 8 a.m. meeting at which the proposed veto was the only item on the agenda, said City Secretary Laura Moody. Councilmen Lupe Gonzalez and John Worden supported the veto, while Wayne Weese and Monica DeCuir opposed it during the 13-minute meeting, Ms. Moody said.
Upshur County Precinct 3 Commissioner Frank Berka, one of the leaders in the campaign to veto the proposed budget because of its controversial five percent pay raise for district employees, had asked the Big Sandy council for the veto Monday night.
That city joined the Upshur County Commissioners Court, the Ore City Independent School District Board of Trustees, and the Gladewater City Council in approving a veto. Some 13 other taxing entities which support the district financially also have a say in whether to approve its proposed $790,000 budget, and taking no action on it is tantamount to approving it.
Entities have until July 10 to act on the budget. Ms. Moore said the City of Big Sandy has delivered a copy of its veto resolution to the district's office in Gilmer.
The city secretary said Gonzalez complained about the provision that no action would equal approval, and that he thought the district "needed to be more transparent." Weese meanwhile argued the council should have confidence in the appraisal district's board of directors (which approved the budget by a 3-1 vote), and said he did not think the pay raises the district has received in past years were "exorbitant," according to Ms. Moore.