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Budget passes, 14 laid off

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The public hearing will be at 5:15 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 11 and will be followed by a special meeting that includes second reading on the budget at 5:30 p.m. Council will meet for third and final reading on the budget at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 12. All meetings will be in the Town Meeting Hall, City of Lebanon Administration Building at Castle Heights.

The budget process, which began months ago, has been a contentious process with the mayor and council often disagreeing on how to balance the budget. Mayor Philip Craighead initially sought a property tax hike and fees for sanitation and stormwater. Council, on the other hand, sought a reduction in force, or lay-offs of 27 city employees and the elimination of positions that were vacant. 

Among those losing their jobs were employees who had been identified previously as being supporters of former Mayor Don Fox and / or Craighead.

Council voted to approve on second and final reading the reduction in force during Tuesday night’s meeting 4-2 with Councilors Alex Buhler, Ward 1; Kevin Huddleston, Ward 2; William Farmer, Ward 3; and Kathy Warmath, Ward 6, voting in favor, and Councilors Joe Hayes, Ward 4; and Haywood Barry, Ward 5, voting against.

Council further wrangled with the budget at Tuesday’s meeting, ultimately voting to restore funding to the Lebanon Senior Citizens Center but requiring officials of it and other not-for-profit entities to furnish audit results if they are seeking tax money.

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