Selma City discusses budget process

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 1, 2005

the Selma Times-Journal

A quick meeting yesterday continued Selma’s budget process for the 2005-2006 Fiscal Year, as City Council members methodically began posing questions for the city’s department heads and mayor to answer at a later date.

“We have a list of questions we’re going to give to department heads and get a response,” Council President George Evans said.

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All of the questions were given roughly equal time, and debate was kept to a minimum through the hour-and-a-half meeting.

Some of the questions got answered before the meeting’s end.

Councilman Cecil Williamson asked why the city was cutting the budget to the Ceramics Department.

“The arts are pretty important to the quality of life in the city,” Williamson said.

Kay Jones, a department head with the city, explained that the budget wasn’t actually being cut.

“We broke it down into different account numbers,” she said, clarifying the issue.

Jones said the ceramics budget was being funded with a grant, which is why the city changed the format on the budget.

The biggest request of the meeting came at the beginning, when Councilwoman Dr. Geraldine Allen asked for a list of employees’ names, salaries and positions in the treasury department.

Allen said she needed the information because she is a new council member. After making a similar request for another department, Councilman Johnnie Leashore responded, saying that the easiest thing might be to get a census of all the city employees.

“I believe that would put this issue to rest,” he said.

The council made it plain at the beginning of the meeting that they didn’t want questions answered.

Evans said the Council would meet at a later date, continue its discussion and then seek a consensus on the budget at different work sessions.

He said a vote approving the budget would be the last move made by the Council.

Leashore said that no matter how the rest of the process goes, he was pleased with the budget draft presented by Mayor James Perkins Jr.

“I think the mayor and department heads have done an excellent job,” he said. “I’d like to commend the mayor.”