Selma still providing services for Valley Grande

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 14, 2003

Valley Grande Mayor Herb Story wants Selma to discontinue police and fire services to the state’s newest city. But although it’s been 10 months since Valley Grande incorporated, Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. still doesn’t want to rush things.

Valley Grande voted in favor of incorporating Jan. 9 by a large majority. On Jan. 8 Collins Pettaway, the attorney representing several Valley Grande residents opposing incorporation, filed objections to Dallas County Probate Judge Johnny Jones’ Dec. 16, 2002, decision to allow the election to occur. Jones overruled those objections at a hearing on Jan. 15, and on Feb. 3 he entered an order of incorporation for Valley Grande.

But Selma has never stopped providing Valley Grande police and fire services even though the new town has stopped paying Selma taxes for those services.

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Perkins added that he didn’t want to remove the services only to return and reinstate them if Valley Grande lost the court case.

When asked why the city continued to provide police services to Valley Grande, Police Chief Robert Green said it wasn’t his decision. &uot;I have not been instructed to discontinue the service,&uot; he said. &uot;Right now, I’m really left in limbo.&uot;

Green added that he must receive orders from Perkins or the Selma City Council if he is to stop providing services to Valley Grande. &uot;Until I hear otherwise, I’ll continue to provide services.&uot;

Fire Chief Henry Allen agreed. &uot;As of today, nothing has changed at this particular moment.&uot;

Allen added that he thought some areas within Valley Grande weren’t part of the incorporation. &uot;We really need a certified map,&uot; he said.

The Selma Fire Department would continue to provide mutual aid to Valley Grande, Allen noted, as it would to any part of Dallas County.

Councilman Glenn Sexton said he agreed with Green. &uot;Until the mayor says they’re not to go into the area, they can keep going. The mayor’s got the right to pull them.&uot;

Story said he hadn’t spoken with Perkins about the matter, but added that Perkins didn’t have the authority to provide police and fire services to Valley Grande. &uot;They don’t have any business being in Valley Grande,&uot; Story said. &uot;We’ve got a sheriff. He’s the chief law enforcement officer in this county. The sheriff is elected by everybody. As of February, they were supposed to be gone.&uot;

Story said he didn’t have any grudge against Selma’s police and fire departments, but added that &uot;they didn’t come to my house. They didn’t come to the community center. People knew we’d lose Selma’s protection when we voted to incorporate. There’s very few people this actually affects.&uot;

On Nov. 21 the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that a writ of mandamus filed by opponents of Valley Grande’s incorporation should be dismissed. The ruling stems from a writ of mandamus filed earlier this year by Pettaway.

A writ of mandamus is an extraordinary appeal occurring when no other option exists.

The high court’s order required Fourth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Marvin Wiggins to dismiss Pettaway’s writ of mandamus, which ended the legal challenge to Valley Grande’s existence.

Pettaway has since filed an application for reconsideration with the high court. The application, which is pending, asks the court to reconsider its Nov. 21 ruling.