HAMPTON — The Hampton City Council on Monday approved a transfer of $100,000 to the city’s Downtown Development Authority, but offered few details about the transaction.
In fact, council members who were asked about the transaction said they couldn’t even talk about it, as pretty much all the discussions surrounding the transaction apparently happened in executive session.
The council approved the transfer 4-2, with Henry Byrd and Stephanie Bodie opposed. The funds will be tranferred from the capital improvements line item of the city’s general fund budget to the DDA.
The council offered no discussion about the fund transfer in a public setting. Instead, a scheduled closed — or executive — session, which was originally set for the end of the meeting, was moved up to the start of the meeting, and was presumably used to discuss “real estate, personnel or possible litigation,” which are the only three items Georgia law allows to be discussed in closed session.
That closed-door session lasted more than 40 minutes and was followed by the vote to transfer the funds.
When the Herald asked Byrd and Ann Tarpley for details about the transfer, both said they could not discuss what was said in executive session. Tarpley motioned for the vote and was joined by Willie Turner, Errol Mitchell and Elton Brown in voting in favor.
However, Byrd did say that he felt the transfer of $100,000 was not a good use of the taxpayer’s money.
On Tuesday morning, the Herald requested a copy of the ordinance passed in its first reading, but did not receive a response as of presstime.
The board will vote on the second reading of the ordinance at its next meeting in March. According to the Hampton city code, an ordinance requires two readings for it to be passed.