City balances budget without cutting jobs

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 2, 2003

The City of Selma passed a budget Wednesday evening about $500,000 less than last year’s budget &045; and without cutting jobs.

The City Council voted 6&045;0 in favor of passing the fiscal year 2003&045;’04 budget after an agreement to remove funding from the Summer Youth Program was reached. Council members James Durry, Rita Sims Franklin, Jean Martin, Sam Randolph, Bennie Ruth Crenshaw and President George Evans voted in favor. Council members Nancy Sewell, Glenn Sexton and B.L. Tucker weren’t present.

Projected revenue for this fiscal year is $16,838,194.74. Funds budgeted are $16,770,336.42, after monies for the Summer Youth Program are removed &045; which leaves $67,868.32 unbudgeted.

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According to Evans, another $50,000 in revenue is still needed in order to keep from passing on higher insurance rates to city employees.

Before the Summer Youth Program’s funds were removed $12,868.32 remained unbudgeted.

Last year’s fiscal budget had projected revenues of $17,359,430.00. Funds budgeted were $17,333,348.45, which left $26,081.55 unbudgeted.

Mayor James Perkins Jr. circled the council’s table and shook the hands of all present council members after the vote passed.

Before votes were cast, Perkins encouraged the council to pass the budget Wednesday instead of waiting until a later date. &uot;Today is October 1,&uot; Perkins said. &uot;We need to pass this budget.&uot;

The alternative to passing the budget Wednesday would have been passing last fiscal year’s budget, which would have caused a hardship for Selma’s finance department, according to Perkins. Instead, Perkins urged the council to pass the new budget Wednesday and amend it at a later date if needed.

About $301,000 in projected revenue was raised in order to balance the budget by raising building permit, cemetery and garbage fees. Under the new budget, garbage fees are expected to rise by $4.

Evans questioned the urgency in passing the budget Wednesday and asked why the council couldn’t wait until its Oct. 13 meeting. Perkins answered by saying that without a budget Selma’s government would shut down.

Franklin agreed, but said she had a problem with funding the Summer Youth Program at this time. Franklin told Perkins that if funds for the program were removed, she’d vote &uot;yes&uot; Wednesday.

Perkins said that if the council passed last year’s budget, on Thursday the finance department would enter that information into their records only to do it again with new budget information when it eventually passed.

Perkins and Franklin then shook hands, signifying agreement on the removal of funds for the Summer Youth Program.

Perkins, however, noted that funds were lacking for the program last year, but were still found in time for its funding. Perkins also pointed to the fact that the budget, while passed, could be amended.

The vote then passed.

Specifics in the 2003-’04 budget include:

Salaries for council members remained the same. Discretionary funds were cut from $15,000 to $10,000.

Funding for the Selma/Dallas County Public Library was cut to $245,000. Last year the library’s funding was $250,000.

Funding for the Economic Development Authority was raised to $55,000. Last year it didn’t receive any funding.

Funding for Selma’s Hyundai commitment was raised to $100,000. Last year no funds were budgeted.