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No budget in Vinton for second year
By: Genevieve Curtis
VINTON, Texas -- For the second year in a row, the village of Vinton failed to pass a budget.
The council could not agree on a budget again this year after council members Juvencia Rios-Ontiveros, Martha Garcia and Maria Medina propose what Mayor Madeleine Praino called an "unacceptable" budget.
"I believe they want to leave us in as bad a shape as they can," said Councilman Yassu Grier.
Ontiveros, Garcia and Medina only have a few weeks left in office but councilmembers said that's not preventing them from continuing to block progress in the village.
The three proposed a budget that includes slashing salaries of employees 20 to 50 percent.
Grier and Praino called it an act of retaliation against the employees.
"It's not rational. It's inappropriate. It opens the door for more legal problems. We were trying to make them aware of that," said Praino.
Ontiveros did not respond when KFOX14 asked her if it was retaliation but in the meeting she claimed it was not.
Ontiveros already currently faces felony retaliation charges.
The trial to remove the three from office was postponed this summer due to attorneys conflicting schedules and the trio did not file for reelection by the filing date.
"Get your facts straight from my attorney," said Garcia, denying that the state filed to remove her from office. "You know it's being removed."
KFOX14 asked Garcia if that meant she was in the middle of a plea deal.
"Get your facts straight. Call my attorney. Call my attorney. You want a comment? You want a comment from me? Call my attorney," said Garcia.
There was no explanation for why they voted against applying for water and sewer grants Tuesday night, since they're leaving office.
"Because we have a right to vote. I can vote as I want," said Garcia.
When asked why she was leaving office, Medina just stuck a video camera toward the KFOX14 crew.
But one of the new incoming council members said water and sewer is one of the first things they will pass.
"We're going to be pushing the sewer and the water and looking into the storm water issues," said Manuel Leos.
Praino said there will not be any more budget workshops and they will wait for the new council to take office to pass the budget.
Last year the three proposed slashing salaries 50 percent.
This year, since they won't be in office, their budget included cutting councilpersons' salaries.