Councilman walks out, threatens lawsuit against Huntsville radio host


HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WZDX) - A meeting got heated after a city council member stormed out, threatening legal action. It happened at Thursday night's Huntsville City Council meeting. It all came about over accusations about Councilman Will Culver.

A local radio host is accusing him of "double dipping", using a position on the council to move forward an expansion project from Calhoun Community College.

Jackson says a longtime member of the criminal justice staff's contract wasn't renewed in favor of hiring City Councilman Will Culver. Jackson says this is because Culver is on the council, and Calhoun Community College wanted to purchase land in the city of Huntsville. Culver says the accusations are completely untrue. He then walked out of the meeting, and threatened legal action.

"The slander that was in a paper that he printed, I let that slide, and now he comes into this forum and wants to bring up things that he knows are not true. It saddens me. And this is not the place for it," said Councilman Will Culver, in an interview after he left.

"If Culver wants to threaten a lawsuit against me, go right ahead. He's a public figure. I am bringing to him accusations that I had brought to me. I've called him numerous times and tried to get him on the record. This was the only way I could get any conversation, and you saw the minute it happened, he packed up his desk and he walked out," responded Dale Jackson after he left the meeting.

Councilman Culver resigned his position at Calhoun Community College back in 2012.

After the commotion at the council, Mayor Tommy Battle presented his budget for next year. Next year's budget calls for a modest increase, about two and a half percent over this year's budget. Mayor Battle says that's because of increased costs for personnel, including things like salaries, health care, and fuel costs for cars. The mayor says that after federal cuts and past years that were tough, this year is all about balancing the budget.

"We're again doing what we've done in the past, making sure that we are very conservative in our budgeting. We'll move through this budget process and make sure that revenues equal expenditures so again we can have a balanced budget," says Mayor Tommy Battle.

Thursday night's meeting was only an introduction for the budget. The council will vote on the measure sometime before October 1st.

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