MARSHALLVILLE, Ga. — As cities in Central Georgia prepare their 2024 budgets, people in Marshallville say something isn't adding up.
Some members of the city's budget committee say the problem is with the mayor's spending habits. They say it all goes back to a March Macon County Superior Court ruling that bars Mayor Al Lane from making any unilateral decisions.
"He cannot make purchases in any amount for this city," John Campbell said.
"Every purchase was a violation," George Rumph, a member of the city's budget committee, said.
Campbell and Rumph dug through dozens of documents Friday afternoon. They say each budget, each credit card statement and each receipt prove Lane is violating Judge Jimmie Brown's order.
"A judge says, 'Don't do this.' And then you turn around and do what the judge says, 'Don't do.' I mean, it's clear he doesn't care about the charter. It's clear he doesn't care what the judge says," Rumph said.
In March, Brown ruled he cannot make any unilateral decisions for a year, after Lane purchased a $122,750 backhoe without the council's approval. Rumph says Lane made a unilateral decision a few days ago, when he tried to disband the budget committee.
"He messaged Tim [Gerard], and Tim told him, 'It's not dissolved. We're having our regular meeting just as planned,'" Rumph said.
Rumph says they'll continue to meet until the city comes up with a budget for next year. Rumph and Campbell say they need to, because according to a document from a recent budget workshop with auditors, the city went more than $163,000 over budget from April 2022 to March 2023. They blame one person: Lane.
"When one person's making the decisions unilaterally, that's a problem. And more money gets spent than necessary. Because it's always spent for what they want instead of what's good for the community," Campbell said.
Rumph says Lane disagrees with the budget workshop document the committee provided, and came up with another budget where the numbers check out.
The two documents were collected over different time periods. The budget workshop document was compiled over the course of one year. The other budget was just seven months, from July 2022 to February 2023.
Meanwhile, the council is set to vote on the Fiscal Year 2024 budget on Tuesday.
13WMAZ reached out to the mayor's office Friday afternoon. They said Mayor Lane was out of town at a doctor's appointment. We also reached out to the city attorney and every city council member, but did not hear back before this story aired.