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Dozens confront city council at tense Portsmouth meeting

Posted at 11:35 PM, Apr 28, 2015
and last updated 2015-04-29 01:21:21-04

Portsmouth, Va. - In a packed city council meeting, several speakers voiced their displeasure with the direction of the city on Tuesday night.

Four city leaders have resigned or been fired in the past month and many are worried about the direction of the city.

"The state of the current council is a sad, sad, affair and reflects badly on the city as a whole," said one person who spoke out at the meeting.

"We need to get something together and pull this together or there will be no Portsmouth," said another.

Tuesday's meeting was the first since the firing of City Manager John Rowe. Mayor Kenny Wright said he was let go after proposing a 17-cent tax increase.

Now the city is trying to put together a new budget that does feature some cuts to make up for about a $12 million shortfall.

The city's Sheriff Bill Watson had a back and forth with Mayor Wright about whether the jail is wasting the city's money. At one point, the mayor questioned Watson on how much money he gets paid. More than 30 deputies were at the meeting in support of Watson.

The city council didn't decide anything Tuesday night. Members are expected to adopt a budget next month.

Related: 

Portsmouth Police Chief retiring, finance director also leaving position