The Village of Vinton is the only municipality in Texas history to not have a budget passed by the October 1st deadline. After tonight's city council meeting, it continues to remain budget-less.
Much of the problem is a result of Vinton not having a water and sewer system. The city owes a design firm over half a million dollars for initial fees to launch the project. The state and federal government, however, are offering Vinton 38 million dollars to be able to complete their sewer system. Council members are torn over whether or not they should accept these funds.
According to the Village of Vinton's Mayor, Madeleine Praino, the council members need to first pass a budget before they can even discuss the sewer system project. Vinton residents are frustrated, even angry, that three of the city council members, Martha Garcia, Maria Medina, and Juvencia Rios-Ontiveros, are standing in the way of the community having clean, safe water by rejecting budget proposals that many residents believe are fair.
Tonight, city council members were asked to vote on extending the 2011-2012 budget for a period of 90 days. This would allow Vinton's Mayor, Madeleine Praino, to negotiate the rate at which Vinton's current debt could be paid back to the creditors. The same three council members, however, Garcia, Medina and Ontiveros, voted against it, claiming that it would raise taxes for residents, despite being told by the rest of the council that it would not.
Mayor Praino assured the public that basic services, such as police protection, health and sanitation, and street and building maintenance will still be provided. She and many other residents are also arguing that businesses are not coming to Vinton because the water is contaminated and unsafe. This, they claim, is causing them to lose much needed revenue. As for the budget, the city will have to continue to wait on the council to come to a consensus.