Better late…

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 10, 2002

After months of haggling, City Council finally passes budget

By Alan Riquelmy / Selma Times – Journal

The 2002-2003 budget for the city of Selma has been passed. Finally.

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In a 7 to 1 vote with one council member not present the Selma City Council approved the budget nearly three months into the new fiscal year.

President George Evans said, however, that some stipulations about the budget will have to be discussed at a later time.

Mayor James Perkins Jr. started discussion about the budget

at Monday’s council meeting by saying that both the business license and garbage fee issues weren’t included in the projected budget. He pointed out that the council had yet to say &uot;no&uot; to either of these issues.

Five is the lowest number of votes necessary for a majority. There are nine council members.

Perkins also recommended that the discretionary funds for himself and council members be lowered.

Councilwoman Jean Martin agreed, saying that she would like to propose a motion that funds be lowered from $15,000 to $5,000.

Evans, however, wanted to hear discussion on the matter before a vote.

Councilwoman Rita Sims Franklin said that she had already spent some of her discretionary funds on projects such as SABRA House and Sturdivant Hall. She said that if the council had to cut funds then it shouldn’t cut them from projects such as these.

Councilwoman Nancy Sewell also said that she had committed funds to projects, and suggested that the council review the budget and trim any fat that still might be in it.

Councilwoman Bennie Ruth Crenshaw, though, said that while there was a lot of fat before Perkins took office she didn’t see any now.

Evans suggested that the financial director’s position be eliminated for the rest of the fiscal year to cover the budget’s deficit.

Perkins, however, recommended that the council keep that position open. He said that a financial director is needed in the department.

Evans and Councilman James Durry both said that the city could do without a financial director for the rest of the fiscal year.

Martin then repeated her request for a vote on lowering the discretionary funds, but suggested that they only be lowered by $5,000.

Perkins then suggested an amendment to the vote saying that a percentage be used to determine how much the funds are to be lowered based on how much money each council member has now.

Martin agreed to the amendment and it passed 5 to 3. Councilman B.L. Tucker was not present.

In other matters the council:

The current cost is estimated at $25,000. The council voted 7 to 1 for Meyer to move forward with the project.