City council approves budget

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Selma Times-Journal

After considerable debate the Selma City Council voted 7-2 Monday night to approve the 2006-2007 budget, which proposes $17,746,326.95 to be spent through its general fund and capital improvements.

Councilmembers then bantered for about 45 minutes over whether to name a new member to the Selma Water and Sewer Works Board of Directors and

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over whether to leave the salary as it is or lower it. When the discussion ended both matters were taken off the agenda.

Councilmembers wanted the advice of City Attorney Jimmy Nunn, who was not present at the meeting. Nunn was called away to deal with a family matter, city officials said.

The approved budget has a $438,058.79 variance above the 2005-2006 amended budget.

Council President George Evans, who voted to approve the budget, initially suggested the approval be put off so the councilmembers could have adequate time to review it and ask questions. Councilmen Cecil Williamson and Reid Cain voted not to approve the budget.

Williamson said he had several questions, which he submitted in writing to the mayor’s office. Councilwoman Bennie Ruth Crenshaw made the motion to adopt the budget, seconded by Councilman Johnnie Leashore.

“There are some $423,000 in variances, and I’d like to know what has been taken out, and what has been put into the budget to cause the variance,” Evans said.

Councilwoman Crenshaw said, “We need to be real about what we have to do here. If you’ve had any questions then you should have seen the mayor about it before now.”

Evans said he saw nothing wrong with “meeting this week to clarify it.”

Mayor James Perkins Jr. appealed to the council to get the budget passed, saying there was “a real dilemma in not passing it (the budget) by Sept. 30.”

“I was cautiously optimistic and was hoping the silence meant consent,” Perkins said of not having many questions about the budget before. “If we don’t adopt the budget, the city treasurer’s office will have to initialize the system under the old budget, then come back and input the new data. It’s too much to ask.”

Evans said he had concerns that he wanted addressed at Thursday’s work session, but the mayor had to leave to get to another meeting. The work session had been held in executive session for more than two hours discussing legal matters with attorneys.

In other business, council members:

Heard an update on God’s Miracle Ranch by Connie Parr.

Recognized Gregory Jones for 25 years of service in the Public Works department.

Heard a presentation from Annie Alexander and Rev. and Mrs. Joe Nathion Brown on the New Hope Community Center.

Acknowledged support for Selma City Schools’ Parent’s Day.

Heard a report from Mallieve Breeding on the Selma Community Pride Committee.

Explained to Bonnie Breaden why the elevator in the public safety building has not been repaired. Perkins said the elevator is old, and parts had to be hand made. The parts are finished and should be installed and the elevator working soon.