Council making smart financial decision

Published 10:22pm Friday, March 21, 2014

It’s not finalized yet, but the Selma city council is making a smart fiscal decision by choosing to excercise restraint in spending money from a half-cent sales tax fund.

The council is proposing to prevent expenditures from the fund once it falls below $450,000. The move is intended to give city employees a raise in 2014. In fact, one of the fund’s original purposes was to give employees raises. The council followed through on that promise once, though it was only a one-time raise.

During the last fiscal year, the council has used the half-cent fund to pay for micellaneous expenses. It’s become the city’s slush fund. Perhaps, a fund renaming is in order.

Regarless of loose spending habits, the council has made smart decisions with the half-cent tax money — repairing Bienville Park, purchasing stun guns. It’s hard to criticize spending habits when purchases are all focused on improving the quality of life and service in the city.

But, undoubtedly, the most important aspect of city government is employees. Keeping employees in a positive work environment is critical to an efficient government.

One way to ensure a good environment is by giving employees a raise. Last year’s, lump sum, given to employees was called a raise, but in reality it was simply a Christmas bonus. The council should focus more of its attention on giving employees a permanent raise.

And, retirees are just as important. Though they no longer work for the city any longer, they once filled the same role as the hundreds that currently help Selma’s city government function.

The council will vote on smarter spending habits Tuesday, but its nine members should also look at ways to make the raise permanent.

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