Grovetown, Ga. (WJBF) – A heated city council meeting in Grovetown Monday night as Mayor Gary Jones addressed questions swirling around the financing of a recent Rodeo put on by the city.
The city of Grovetown hosted a rodeo to fundraise for veterans with PTSD and children with special needs back in April.
Councilmember Ceretta Smith says she initially praised the success of the event, but has since started asking questions.
Now she and fellow councilmember Dr. Deborah Fisher are calling for an investigation of potential abuse of authority by Mayor Gary Jones.
The councilmembers allege the mayor funded the rodeo without the knowledge of the full council, or the citizens of Grovetown.
They say there were multiple meetings concerning the rodeo that councilmembers Fisher and Smith were not invited to.
“I keep being told that it was not anything that councilmembers needed to be involved in, but yet some councilmembers were involved and I was not involved,” Councilmember Smith said
Councilmember Smith says after filling an open records request, she believes the event cost Grovetown $64,000. This calculation includes the price of overtime for the city’s employees who worked the event.
“This rodeo was not cost effective. It was not the best use of taxpayer dollars,” Councilmember Smith said.
Mayor Jones says the event cost just over $30,000.
“We do not include overtime and wages in the event line code. We never have,” Mayor Jones said.
Mayor Jones says his actions were in compliance with city policy and he feels the call for an investigation is politically motivated.
“This seat that I’m sitting in, someone wants to hold it. It becomes vacant at the end of next year, but I’m not going to give it up,” Mayor Jones said.
He says after Monday’s meeting, he is considering running for reelection.
Some Grovetown residents say they hope there is an investigation into the rodeo.
“Not to say that there was ill will or intent, but if you didn’t follow policies, procedures and practices, and all the elected officials were supposed to be there and they were not, or were supposed to have the opportunity to attend one or all meetings and they did not, then that’s not appropriate and it does need to be investigated,” resident Antoinette Clark said.
NewsChannel 6 will continue following this story.