Villa Hills mayor threatens to lay off city employees if budget amendment isn't passed

VILLA HILLS, Ky. - Villa Hills mayor Mike Martin is demanding his budget amendment be passed immediately, threatening to lay off almost half of the city workforce.

It's an ultimatum that's leaving some city council members wondering why they're cleaning up the mess they say the mayor is leaving behind.

"I personally do not have responsibility for day-to-day operations. Only the mayor does. So in essence, we approve a budget, he exceeds a budget, we have to come running in and cleaning up the fact that he's exceeded the budget. That irritates me," said Councilman Scott Ringo.

Ringo says Martin is asking council members to approve a budget amendment that would pull $125,000.00 from the city reserves.

Martin told 9 News if council doesn't make up that money soon, he's going to lay off four to five city employees. Villa Hills only has 11 city employees.

"I believe he's threatening council that we have to do this," said Ringo.

Martin said he doesn't understand why council is upset over a budget amendment- something he says is typical in city operations.

Ringo explained it's because the city has never gone this over budget.

"Never though have we had something in triple digits like this. A hundred thousand plus dollars is just, it's obscene."

The majority of the budget deficit stems from more than $100,000 in police overtime that has gone unpaid.

The Department of Labor is now investigating that case.

Larry Kleem has lived in Villa Hills for more than 36 years. He says it's time for Martin to resign.

"I think it's time that he does step down. He's lost pretty much his ability to communicate with council. I think he's chosen to not communicate with certain key employees of the city that he needs to communicate with in order to run the city efficiently," said Kleem.

He said he hopes other residents start to realize the turmoil going on at city hall.

"It is sort of a quiet village, and citizens tend to think things will just work out for themselves. This isn't working out. And the mayor seems to have drawn the line in the sand, and most of council doesn't agree," said Kleem.

Ringo also says it's time for Martin to go.

"We wish he would've resigned yesterday," he said.

Martin told 9 News his initial goal was to have the budget amendment approved by Tuesday. He said he can now wait until the next council meeting, adding the longer he has to wait for approval, the more city employees he will be laying off.

Taliaferro, Carran and Keys LLC in Covington is handling a separate investigation of the mayor. Phil Taliaferro told 9 News his office was called in by city council. He said Martin is being cooperative with the investigation.

The results of the investigation will be made public in a special hearing on April 30.

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