Selma police are enforcing the codes

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Mayor James Perkins Jr. said Selma’s law enforcement agents are working harder to make the city’s streets safe and more people friendly at last night’s city council meeting.

Perkins and Selma interim Police Chief Jimmy Martin reported that the city is cracking down on noise violations, litter control and traffic violators.

“(Our) job is to enforce the code,” Perkins said. “I know that they (enforcement) officials are starting to aggressively enforce these codes because my phone is ringing off the hook.”

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The council heard reports from

Martin about the number of noise complaints his officers have received in February and the number of citations.

According to Martin, 41 complaints have been reported, 12 of them outside the city limits. Four citations have been issued.

Councilman Dr. Cecil Williamson said the number of citations wasn’t high enough.

“I don’t think it’s real satisfactory to have four citations when you have 41 complaints,” he said.

He asked Martin if the police were planning on increasing the number anytime soon.

Martin said he was taking steps to fight the problem.

“I’m having a meeting with all patrolmen,” he said.

Officers must actually observe a crime being committed, according to state law.

“You’ve got to catch them (violators),” Martin said.

Williamson also asked Martin if the city had a plan to combat violators of the city’s handicap parking ordinance.

Perkins told Williamson that the department was working with his office on a plan to combat code violations throughout the city.

“Everything that you are asking about there’s something being put in place for,” he said.

Other enforcement issues brought to the city included speeders and drivers running red-lights.

“I expect to see some volume in these transactions, the chief knows,” Perkins said during his report.

During the business session of the Council meeting, Claire Twardy, representing the Centre for Commerce, supported the city’s battles against crime.

“The Centre for Commerce is behind our citizens that are calling in these complaints. 41 is a large number for one month,” she said.

In other business, the city voted down an amendment to the city’s budget.

The change would have increased the city’s allotment to agencies by $13,000.

Perkins, who supported the amendment, described the increase as a passive process.

“When we went through and negotiated (the budget) we acknowledged that the prior council approved that the prior budget year be carried over,” Perkins said.

By carrying over the 2003-2004 fiscal year budget in the months of October, November and December, the city paid outside agencies, like the library and the animal shelter according to their past appropriations on a month to month basis.

With the new budget, complete with cuts, taking effect in January, Perkins said the difference would create an increase in funding for those agencies by $13,000.

The council indicated they didn’t support the resolution.

Councilwoman Bennie Ruth Crenshaw said the agencies should have expected a loss of funding.

“Most of those agencies should have been actually preparing,” she said.

Councilman Reid Cain moved to pass the changes.

The motion wasn’t seconded and the issue died without being voted on.

Perkins accepted the council’s decision.

“This is not the first time ya’ll told me ‘no,'” he said.

In other business, the Council:

Put an ordinance outlining the city’s garbage collection on first reading. The new curbside service will $12 per month, the same as the current rate. For residents who wish to continue with back yard service the rate will double to $24 per month. The ordinance states the service will be reduced as well, from twice a week to once a week.

Williamson requested the council look into some provision for handicapped residents who might have trouble moving their trash to the curb. The city will hold a public forum, outlining the new service to residents, at 6 p.m. on March 22, at the Carl C. Morgan Convention Center.

Put a request for a liquor license on first reading. The business, known as Uno, is a club in Selmont located at 2524 Lewis Street. Crenshaw said she had some concerns about licensing the club.

“I just didn’t want to put a club in the middle of a community,” she said.

Perkins said he felt the council should research the issue before passing it.

Awarded a concessions contract to Robert Massey of Massey Concessions to sell food and drinks at the Sportsplex and the City Softball Complex. According to City Clerk Lois Williams, Massey will pay at least $3,500 for the privelege of selling at the fields.

Discussed possible action to be taken against Charter Cable. According to Williamson, the Council met with the company two months ago to discuss their rates. Williamson said the company’s rates were raised again this month and he felt the company was taking advantage of Selma. He said they had no competition.

“Something’s got to be done,” he said, “(even) if we have to get some program to get everybody a dish free.”

Other members of the council suggested setting up another meeting and Perkins mentioned contacting the FCC to explore options.

Discussed the possibility of changing city law to decrease on livestock within the city limits.

“It’s entirely too many livestock in our city” Councilwoman Jannie Venter said.

Venter told the council she was getting calls about goats, chickens, horses and mules in her ward.

“It makes the city smell bad,” she said.

City Attorney Jimmy Nunn agreed to research the issue and provide the city with some sort of solution.