The Huntsville City Council passed the budget for 2019, but they made a major change. They voted to take roughly $729,000 from the street repaving budget and give it to retired city employees as a one time bonus.
We still don't know what the exact impact on repaving this will have on the city in 2019, but the mayor's office told WAAY 31 they will work on finding that information out Friday morning.
The resolution to give retired employees a bonus was a contentious one. Council President Mark Russell was not a fan and voted no. Devyn Keith, Bill Kling and Will Culver all voted to give the retirees a bonus. Councilwoman Jennie Robinson was not at the meeting because of a family health emergency and did not vote.
We still need to confirm with the Alabama Retired State Employees Association how many retirees this impacts and how much per person this bonus will be.
The meeting was heated, and you could visibly see frustration on the face of Council President Mark Russell as the amendment to the budget was made.
There were roughly a dozen current city employees at the meeting Thursday asking for a bigger cost of living pay raise than what they were getting in the budget. Councilman Bill Kling tried to get it raised from one percent to two percent, but it was voted down. City employees will only see a one percent cost of living pay increase in the 2019 budget.