On Tuesday afternoon, the city of Dublin received a letter from councilwoman Elizabeth Cook announcing her resignation from the Dublin City Council. City Manager Jerry Guillory declined to discuss her resignation because "it involves another council member."
The now vacant position for Ward 1 will be appointed by the city council. Cook could not be reached for comment before press time.
Cook's resignation occurred on the day of one of the city council's budget hearings that had record attendance.
"Most of the time we have these workshops, very few people are here," Dublin Mayor Tom Gordon said.
Monday's meeting was one of a series of budget hearings where the council sought the public's input on proposed budget cuts.
"We're looking at a $450,000 deficit," said Councilman Kenneth Lunsford.
Monday's meeting opened with Guillory presenting a budget proposal reflecting the elimination of the city's dispatch services. Taking this action would result in $176,000 savings for the city by eliminating four city positions.
If the proposal is adopted, an agreement between Dublin and Erath County would be formed for Erath County dispatch to assume responsibilities for Dublin at a cost of about $30,000 a year.
The council is also considering cuts to the police department, public works, library and parks department. Other options that have been considered are cutting as many as three police officer positions, two library employees and closing the city pool.
Many in attendance, including police officers and other citizens, voiced their concerns about making budgets cuts in the area of public safety. Many voiced concern about City Hall not being open on nights and weekends.
"It's been a haven for battered women, rape victims and children," Guillory said.
One dispatcher told the city council, "It's not just a service. We have a relationship with the officers and with the community."
Mayor Tom Gordon admitted the city council had been warned in the past that "once you cut 911, you're through. You'll never get it back," Gordon said.
Police officers attending the hearing as well were in fear of losing their jobs.
Dublin High School teacher and coach Cliff Sims spoke about how cutting a police officer could affect the safety of students and employees of DISD.
"If you take an officer away from the school, you take him away from 25 percent [of the population,]" said Sims.
While public safety concerns consumed most of the discussion, others present were concerned with other areas of the city as well.
The library is among the services that could also be cut.
Although some joked that "no one reads books anymore, we have the Internet," one resident and friend of the library argued that "the computers are used almost every hour the library is open each week. Not everyone has or can afford Internet in their homes."
Other options discussed included closing the city pool and cutting employees.
"We need that gal from 'Bewitched' to come down here and wiggle her nose and fix all our problems," said Councilman Kenneth Lunsford.
The Dublin City Council will continue to hold budget hearings until Sept. 13 when they will make a final decision and adopt the budget and tax rate for 2010-11. The next budget hearing will be Thursday night at 6 p.m. at City Hall.