Tensions high in Lott as council reconsiders budget, allows police force to stay for now

Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 10:05 PM CDT
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LOTT, Texas (KWTX) - There is a combination of unease and relief for one Central Texas town.

The City of Lott was supposed to decide on an official date to disband its police department Monday night. Instead, the city council pushed to revise its budget and look keep its officers.

There was lots of back-and-forth inside the Lott civic center during that Monday meeting, though.

“I for one, don’t want to give up the value that chief Hamilton brings to this city,” said one resident in attendance.

The city voted the week prior to get rid of its police department, with the council saying there was not enough money in the budget to keep its chief and two staff members.

That caused a bit of confusion.

“I was under the assumption that I no longer had a job,” said one of the departments’ officers. “I gathered up all my stuff, turned it into the office today.”

However, its officers are still on duty and getting paid.

It was not until this meeting the council decided to go over the budget again. During that council members noted it was not just the police running a deficit, but also its public works department.

“Why wasn’t this talked about before you took the vote,” asked Michael Hamilton, Lott’s police chief.

Monday’s meeting was, in part, a way to get citizen input on what could be done to revise the budget and possibly save the police department.

But, it came with a lot of commotion.

“We seem to be – we’re going to go bankrupt,” said John Travis Golding, a council member.

For now, Lott gets to keep its police department. That us, until another round of budget talks Friday, July 22, then again on Aug. 8. That was decided after council member Golding motioned to second any budget decisions, which the rest of the council backed.

“I’m not talking about crime, I’m just talking budget here,” said Golding.

Related Link: Lott City Council votes to disband police department

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