Members of the Cedar Bluff Utility Board asked for and received an apology from Mayor Martha Baker during Monday’s Cedar Bluff Town Council meeting.
Utility Board Vice-Chairman Cindy Early (pictured) told Mayor Baker and the council that the board members took offense to comments made by the mayor in a May article in The Post.
In one of the specific quotes cited by Early, Baker said “We don’t know if [the Utility Board] is being run properly because we have no input.”
Early said that council members are welcome to attend any utility board meeting and give their input. She also added that although the utility board members were appointed by different administrations, they all serve with the best interest of the town in mind.
Baker said she probably used the wrong words to express her feelings and she apologized if her comments were taken as a personal attack. However, she said she would not apologize for believing that the separation of the board and town is a “Bad option.”
Council member Billie Burkhalter also spoke up, saying that the council does need more input. For instance, if a new manufacture is looking at locating in Cedar Bluff, the council’s hands are tied regarding incentives such as abatements for water and sewer service.
Utility Board Chairman Donald Sanders responded by saying if that situation were to come up, the board would be glad to sit down with town officials and the industry to work out a deal.
Baker concluded the discussion by once again apologizing for hurting anyone’s feelings and saying the town and the utility board need to work together.
The utility board and the town have been at odds since the council voted to change the board from a five to seven member board.
That action was rescinded by the council after the utility board filed legal action.