Selma gets connected

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Selma Times-Journal

Selma officials introduced the city government’s official digital footprint at last night’s council meeting.

“I wanted it to be simple and functional,” Mayor James Perkins Jr. said.

The site, designed by local Web page designer Clarence Lindsey, includes several pages on different aspects of Selma city government.

Currently, the site includes contact information for city government officials and offices, a statement from the mayor about Selma and public records.

The site is already live, but the pages aren’t current yet.

City Clerk Lois Williams, who made the presentation for the mayor, said the site is still a work in progress.

The site not only promotes Selma, but is designed to help viewers navigate city government.

“Our city has made several attempts to build and maintain an official Web site that is both easy to use and beneficial to the users,” Perkins stated on the site.

The site provides minutes to recent city council meetings along with Ward maps, so that citizens can find their Council members better.

The site will also feature photographs of the individual members in the future, according to Williams.

The site is located online at www.selmacitygovernment.com.

In other business the city:

Voted to keep Perkins’ comments regarding the Good Sam contract in the minutes. Perkins told the council during the last meeting that anytime the city spends money, the council must be notified.

“I quoted the law,” he said at last night’s meeting.

Council President George Evans said he’s received phone calls, wanting assurance that the city must be notified when money was spent. Council member Johnnie Leashore moved to strike the mayor’s comments from the minutes, calling the unnecessary. The motion was amended and the amendment was approved. Leashore withdrew his original motion to pass the minutes. Williamson made a motion to accept the minutes and it finally passed, 5-3. Council members Leashore, Bennie Ruth Crenshaw and Sam Randolph voted against the minutes. Jannie Venter was absent from last night’s meeting.

Voted to award KHAFRA, a local engineering firm, a contract for consulting with the city. Originally, the contract was written to expire December 30. Councilman Cecil Williamson suggested the contract end on Sept. 30, to allow the city time to determine the cost efficiency of hiring a full-time city engineer. Williamson said that if it was feasible, the city could make that decision in September when the city approved next year’s budget. If not, the contract could be extended. Perkins said he had no problem with the change and the contract was approved with the amendments.

Approved a $113,000 contract for GIS mapping of the city’s sewer system.

“We want to try to get ahead of these cave-ins,” Perkins said. The data collected will allow the city’s engineering firm to determine where more work is needed to avoid cave-ins within the city.

Heard an update on the city’s road projects. David Painter, with KHAFRA engineering, said the city had received a bid on the Crescent Hill project. The only bidder, Tri-County Construction, put forth a bid of $126,000, including engineering work and other incidentals. The contract is still less than the $165,000 budgeted for the project. Painter said that work was continuing on Water Avenue and Mabry Street.

Was formally introduced to Charlotte Griffeth, formerly of CHAT academy, now serving at the City’s head of Planning and Development. Griffeth was hired to take Elizabeth Driggers place and is making $60,000, according to Perkins. The position is only budgeted for a $52,500 salary. Perkins said the difference is made up in a grant that doesn’t require matching funds from the city.

Heard a brief report from Jimmy Nunn regarding Dallas County’s lawsuit against the city. Nunn said the Council would be forced to go into executive session if they wanted to discuss it. None of the council members wanted to.

Discussed the city’s new leash law. Nunn said the law outlines proper procedure for vicious dogs as well as the requirements for animals to be put on a leash. The new law outlines what classifies as a “vicious dog.” The council approved it but required a change on who paid for the euthanization of an animal when the law required it to be put to sleep.

Approved awarding claims to lawsuits brought against the city. The Times-Journal couldn’t get information on who the claims were awarded to or how much.

Discussed a 90 day timeline on the city’s curfew ordinance. The Council decided city officials would meet with the police chief and discuss it further. Williams said the curfew had been on the agenda for far too long.

“We need to do something or take it off the agenda,” he said.

Discussed changing the agenda format so the citizens requests would come earlier in the meeting. Crenshaw said they shouldn’t.

“For them to come first and I have to stay late inconveniences me,” she said.

Williamson said they should.

“We’re public servants. We should not make people wait two to three hours before they speak with their elected officials,” he said after the meeting.

The vote was tied 4-4 and the issue was dead until the next meeting.

Agreed to appoint a committee to investigate how the city can get enough money to pay for services outside the city limits and within the police jurisdiction. Williamson provided figures stating the city lost $569,000 in providing services with in the police jurisdiction, where the majority of 911 call originate.

“We can’t continue to absorb this half a million,” Williamson said.

Joining Williamson was Crenshaw and Leashore, who will serve on the committee with him.

Heard from Fran Pearce, boardmember for Leadership Selma-Dallas County. Pearce requested the city return to funding the organization at previous levels, at $5,000 per year. The city now funds the group with $2,000 in discretionary funds. Pearce also wanted the $5,000 to be a part of the city’s fiscal year budget.