RW Council to amend budget by 30.46%; Prioleau Criticizes Cotton Yard Purchase

RIDGEWAY – Town Council will will hold a public hearing and take a final vote Thursday night to amend the budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year by 30.46 percent.

The Town’s current revenue will be amended from $744,200 to $970,900. However, the difference of $226,700 is not newly generated revenue, administrative consultant David Hudspeth told The Voice on Tuesday.

“This money is currently in the Town’s bank account, but not allocated in the budget,” Hudspeth said. The transfer was necessary, he said, to put it into the Town’s budget so it could be used.

Much of this additional revenue comes from the Town’s savings account. At the Dec. 14 meeting, Hudspeth recommended cashing in the Town’s CD’s and moving the proceeds into the general fund.

While Ridgeway Town Council voted 3-1 last month to purchase the Cotton Yard for $73,000 +, Councilman Donald Prioleau told The Voice afterward that, had he been present for the vote, he would have joined Councilman Heath Cookendorfer in voting against the purchase.

Prioleau said because of a prior commitment he had to leave the meeting before the executive session and had not thought the issue would come up for a vote that night since it was only on the agenda for executive session.

“I don’t think we need to be spending that kind of money right now,” Prioleau said. “And when we spend that kind of money, we need to give the public better notice. I understand that there has since been talk that the Pig on the Ridge steering committee is all for this and is considering throwing a lot of money into it, but that’s not exactly correct,” Prioleau said. “We said we would be interested in helping out on a depot-style building with an outdoor platform and maybe room inside for community gatherings, but the library thing came up much later. The only sketch I’ve seen of a library is not a depot-style building. And I am not interested in that,” Prioleau said.

“I also want to weigh in on the library location,” Prioleau added. “I’m all for a new library but as much as we need merchant space downtown and as congested as Palmer Street already is, we need to think about moving the library next to the park and ball field. A lot of children use the library and that would be a better location, near the park and it would not take up merchant shopping and parking space.”

Another member of the POR steering committee, Tom Connor, agreed that the park would probably be a better location for the library.

“I think the steering committee is most interested in a depot style building and also we would like to see a nice clock built in the downtown, in the Cotton Yard area,” Connor said.

The next Town Council meeting is set for Thursday, Jan. 11.