From: Ozarks First (UPDATED STORY)

A Branson Board of Alderman meeting came to a sudden stop on Tuesday when three Branson Alderman walked out of the meeting in response to a ruling by the city’s mayor, Edd Akers.

The walkout came shortly after the board’s passing of a measure on first reading that would provide funding for the installation of underground power lines along a section of Highway 76.

The measure passed with three “Yes” votes, two “No” votes and one alderman abstaining from the vote.

The three aldermen say they left out of frustration with Akers’ decision to consider abstaining votes a “No.”

“The question I asked is, ‘If our abstention doesn’t mean anything, then why don’t we take it off the voting mechanism?’,” Alderman Kevin McConnel told Ozarks First. “We’re able to vote yes, no or abstain and the mayor kind of finding a loophole with decorum was, I think, in poor taste.”

“I read an entire statement talking about ‘If you abstain, then [the mayor has] the option to be able to change it.’ So, they knew before they ever voted, that if they did that, then I had the option to be able to do it,” Akers said Wednesday.

Alderman McConnell clarified he’s all for the installation of underground powerlines on 76. He just wants the city to acquire the total cost of the project before the installation begins.

The issue will be taken up again on December 10th, 2019 at the aldermen’s next scheduled meeting.