Call it progress for the council

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 14, 2006

It may be a distorted version of the democratic process in action, but the Selma City Council meeting is a lot easier to watch when the council members actually accomplish something.

That happened Monday night – despite the fact that the meeting eventually deteriorated to the point that it had to be adjourned.

But, prior to that, the council agreed to pay the utility bills for the Selma-Dallas County Public Library for the month of March, as well as for the rest of the fiscal year if other funding sources are not identified.

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In April 2005, the city pulled the meter on the library’s building, which is part of the municipal complex. Since that action came to light, there has been much debate about who should pay the utility bills.

A petition with more than 4,600 names asking the city to restore funding for the library was presented to the city council at its Jan. 23 meeting. A motion to restore the library’s funding fully was tabled at that time, but revisited Monday night.

The final result seems like a smart decision – the motion approved by a 5-3 vote calls for the city to pay the March utility bills, as well as pay the bills for the rest of the fiscal year if other sources of funding are not found.

In another move, and after a heated debate, the council also approved by a 5-3 vote a resolution that would allow citizens to speak at the beginning of a meeting, instead of waiting until the end.

Since city council meetings regularly run for four hours or so, that can make a big difference to the citizens who come out to address the council with concerns.

The council also approved several resolutions for spending city money on items such as new carpeting for city hall and baseball and softball uniforms for the youth of Selma.

It’s unfortunate that an otherwise civil meeting had to be brought to an end when an elected official took control of the floor and showed disrespect to the council president.

Despite the bad ending, the council resolved at least a couple of important issues. We can call it progress and hope it continues.