Money sparks council debate

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 28, 2003

A question of money caused a vote to be delayed at Monday night’s City Council meeting.

Stan Gregory, an attorney assisting the city with the purchase of some warrants, gave a brief overview of how the money gained from selling the warrants would be used.

Gregory said that proceeds will be used towards outstanding warrants from 1993 and 1994 and will also fund improvement projects such as street lights and lighting for parking lots.

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A favorable interest rate of about 3.6 percent, Gregory added, was gained by Merchant Capital and the Frazer Lanier Company, two investment banking companies that the council heard from at its Thursday work session.

The warrants will be closed on Feb. 12, Gregory said, and added that one of the signatures that would be required on the paperwork was the city clerk’s.

Councilwoman Nancy Sewell then proposed that a procedural rule be suspended so that the council could vote on the warrant issue that night.

A vote to suspend the rules, though, requires a unanimous decision, and Councilman Glenn Sexton, the first to cast his vote, chose no.

Before casting his vote, Sexton alleged that Mayor James Perkins Jr. changed the warrant, which had originally been a bond, into its current form so the public wouldn’t know about it.

Sexton also said that Councilwoman Rita Sims Franklin and himself didn’t want to give Perkins a blank check.

Councilwoman Bennie Ruth Crenshaw, however, said that the only reason Sexton wanted to stop the process was because Perkins was the individual involved in it.

Sexton disagreed. &uot;Everything that Mrs. Crenshaw said was not true,&uot; he said.

Perkins then said that he wanted to clear things up. He said that the council had voted on whether the fund would be a bond or a warrant and that a majority of the council had voted to make it a warrant.

Perkins also said that the council had many investment bankers come before it, and that they had agreed to working with the Frazer Company.

Council President George Evans said that a called meeting would be necessary this week to settle both the warrant issue and vacancies in city hall.

After discussion, the council voted unanimously to have a meeting at 5 p.m. Thursday to deal with rules and procedures, vacancies in city hall, the warrant issue and the Selma School Board.

In other matters the council:

Perkins said that while Police Chief Robert Green was in favor of the license, he expressed some reservations. He added that Green’s reservations were because the area the business is in has a history.

Crenshaw said a former business in that location had been closed down by the council because teen-agers frequented it.