Things get heated at Meigs City Council meeting during budget debate

Sparks fly at Meigs council meeting

MEIGS, Ga. (WALB) - Thursday’s council meeting in Meigs to discuss the city’s budget got so heated that sheriff’s deputies were called in to keep order.

Before then, council members and most residents agreed that cuts need to be made, but the debate is whether Meigs really needs or can afford its police department.

Many people in the city of Meigs have differing opinions about the interim police chief, Antonio Mango, and if the department is even needed.

Interim Meigs Police Chief Antonio Mango
Interim Meigs Police Chief Antonio Mango

“The interim chief, he’s corrupt. When I say corrupt, he’ll do anything, he’ll do anything except his job," said one Meigs resident who attended the meeting and believes the department isn’t needed.

WALB News 10′s Bobby Poitevint asked another resident who attended the meeting if they think Mango is doing a good job as the interim police chief

“He is. Mango is doing an excellent job, he’s doing an excellent job,” she replied.

Tensions were high during Thursday night’s council meeting as the budget debate got loud.

“I said that’s the type of incompetence when he balled up his paper," said Mango to a council member who was balling-up a piece of paper, presumably budget information handed out by the interim police chief.

“I think it needs to be corrected. Whoever is doing this, they should have a calculator," said another council member who believes several numbers in the budget were wrong.

Before the meeting started, Mayor Cheryl Walters hoped for a civil meeting.

Meigs Mayor Cheryl Walters
Meigs Mayor Cheryl Walters

"All I want tonight is for the council to look at a new proposed budget and come up with ideas to save money or to come up with some solutions where we can cut what we can’t cut. Things like that in order to run our city efficiently,” said Walters.

A department that could be on the chopping block is the police department, but opinions differ on whether the city needs one or not.

Walters believes the police department can be too costly to operate and said “we just can’t afford it."

"We gotta work out some way to make this work,” said Walters.

Mango believes the police department is vital to the city for many reasons, including keeping crime low.

"The police department is needed, the criminal statistic reports reflect that,” argued Mango.

Another special called meeting will be held Thursday on Aug. 5.

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