FAIRHOPE, Ala. (WALA) -- Some heated moments at Monday night's Fairhope City Council meeting. Mayor Karin Wilson and some council members having at it after she requested tabling two items for what she called "lack of transparency."
Mayor Wilson taking issue with how elected officials are compensated. Agenda item #9 dealt with an ordinance to establish monthly salary for the Mayor and Council Members.
She says the compensation of health benefits, which are free to all elected officials and their families, is unheard of. While most on the council see it as part of their benefits package, which has been included for years -- Mayor Wilson believes it's not right since they don't offer health benefits to part time employees.
"This is about a $15,700 a year benefit. Because there is no premium, it's for your whole family. There's hardly any deductible. I'm telling you right now it's a very sweet deal. And these are taxpayers that are paying it. And it's a benefit that nobody knew what the amount was," said Mayor Wilson.
"The benefits package --The mayor said I don't do it for the money. Well, neither do we. But I didn't see her offer to pay back what she is paying in benefits if she didn't care about it. Why don't you cut a check back to the city for what you say you're receiving in benefits. But did you notice -- you didn't hear that though," said Jack Burrell, Fairhope City Council President.
The other hot button issue -- 114 acres at the corner of County Roads 13 & 32 to be used as recreation land and other purposes. After several public board meetings, Burrell was authorized to negotiate the purchase of the land for $2.65-million -- roughly $23,000 per acre.
Mayor Wilson believes it lacks a funding plan, community engagement, and strategic planning. She also believes it appraised for more than its worth when compared to land that sold nearby. She expressed concern that the use of pending sales and listings were ised as justifiable comparisons to come up with the purchase price.
Still, it's three times the property that was going for $48,000 an acre at the Twin Beech site, which fell thru after property owner wouldn't budge on the price.