Selma City Council faces budget decisions

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 23, 2003

The City of Selma needs to raise &045; or cut &045; about $1 million to make the 2003 – 2004 fiscal year budget work.

Selma City Council members listened to Mayor James Perkins Jr.’s working budget proposal at a Monday revenue meeting. According to Perkins, there was originally about a $2.1 million shortage when the budget was being prepared.

Perkins said that the estimated revenue estimated for the next fiscal year was $16,507,549.57. Previous cuts have already brought the budget down to $17,576,157.71.

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That leaves $1,068,608.14 that needs to be either cut or raised to make ends meet.

Perkins noted, however, that the numbers discussed on Monday were part of a work in progress and not the proposed budget, which will be presented to the council at a continued council meeting Tuesday, Sept. 30.

Perkins said cuts had been made in all areas including personnel, but he added that he didn’t think any cuts should occur in areas of public safety.

He added that Selma was below average in its cemetery service fees and said fee increases could generate an additional $67,000. Perkins also pointed to building permit fees as being deflated. Raising the garbage fees by $4 would create an additional $140,000.

According to Council President George Evans, preliminary budget meetings have occurred, but he didn’t know where the city stood concerning the final cuts. &uot;But we do know they’re going to have to be some cuts in some departments,&uot; Evans said. &uot;It could be in personnel. It could be in supplies.&uot;

Councilman James Durry agreed that budget cuts would have to occur. &uot;We’re going to have to cut somewhere,&uot; Durry said. &uot;We’re just going to have to cut.&uot;

Durry added, though, that he didn’t want any funds cut from the Selma/Dallas County Public Library.

In order to make ends meet, Durry suggested that council members’ discretionary funds be cut by about one-third.

Council members currently have $15,000 apiece to use within their ward.

Councilwoman Rita Sims Franklin agreed. &uot;We have no choice. We’ve got to cut,&uot; Franklin said.

In addition to cutting discretionary funds, Frankin said council members should take a salary cut.

The council president makes about $20,000 each year. Council members make about $14,500 a year.