NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - There was a war of words last week during the Norfolk City Council meeting. Members were upset over a vote to purchase land to build a new public library.
"Why hasn't this come before us to talk about the purchase price?" asked Councilman Andy Protogyrou during the meeting.
"This money is going for an anchor branch library for that side of town," added Vice Mayor Anthony Burfoot.
The vote for the library land was the last item on the agenda. The cost is $2.3 million, to be built on land in the Broad Creek area.
"I agree that the library should be built, but I think as a council we have a responsibility to ask if that's a good price or not," Protogyrou added.
Several council members felt as if they were caught off guard by the item, but the library vote was listed on the agenda several days before.
"We get our council packets on Friday," Burfoot said. "We have Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday to call if we have any questions."
"I think what happened, you had a budget night and you had so much money focused that particular evening," Protogyrou said. "When we saw something that we haven't been briefed on that's what raised the red flag."
Council even talked about delaying the vote, but went ahead and passed the purchase 6-2.
"For me it wasn't just something that popped up on the agenda," Burfoot said. "It was something that we've been working on for quite some time."
"I don't think there's a soul on this council who is against the library," Councilwoman Angelia Williams added. "I think that it's just that it popped up on the agenda without any type of briefing."
Burfoot says the money to buy the land for the library is coming from a neighborhood fund. For years folks in that community have been taxed for improvement projects.
"It will serve many in the community," Burfoot added.
Protogyrou says he expects to be briefed on any public purchases. He says in his three years on council every purchase has been discussed first.
Councilman Barclay Winn says the disagreement shouldn't have happened and there's blame to go around.
"I see it as an error on administration for not bringing it to us earlier and on the council part for not questioning it when we had four days to look at it," Winn added.
The library is expected to be open by early 2016.
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Speaker Bill Howell will be in Chesapeake Monday to address the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization.
It took fire crews about 10 minutes to get an electrical fire under control in Suffolk Sunday night.