City may expand

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Council approves annexation planning

By Victor Inge

The Selma Times-Journal

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There was talk of annexation during Monday’s meeting of the Selma City Council, and Councilman Johnnie Leashore said he would take the lead.

After initially charging his colleagues who voted against the purchase of 111 acres for city control with finding a way to utilize land the city owns located outside the city limits, Leashore said he would do it, saying “you can’t stop progress.”

Located out Highway 80 West, the 50 acres of land is already owned by the city. Leashore said he was not opposed to using what the city already owned for their expansion needs, but it would have to be annexed into the city limits. The legal extension of the city limits may have to take in several businesses, but does not appear, Leashore said, to include any homes.

“I didn’t know we owned it,” Leashore said. “Then I found out we couldn’t use it. The main purpose of annexing is expansion.”

During debate over the purchase of the 111-acre tract near Highland Ave., which failed by a 5-4 vote, Mayor James Perkins Jr. said they talked about the needs for cemetery space, a possible new location for Selma High School and other developments. The cost of the land is $1 million, which opponents said was too much of a burden on the city budget, and shouldn’t be done without more public input.

Leashore solicited the support for Council President George Evans, Councilwoman Dr. Geraldine Allen and Councilman Reid Cain, who Leashore said will meet soon to decide a strategy for approaching what could become “a complicated matter.”

“There are no residents to consider,” Leashore said. “A resolution has to be drawn up. Then the next step is to petition our legislators. Before we do all that, we’ll be letting property owners know first hand what our intentions are.”

The vote to proceed with plans of annexation of the 50-acre plot was approved by a 6-3 margin. Councilwoman Jean Martin, Councilman Cecil Williamson and Cain all voted against annexation. Martin said she did not know enough about it to vote for it.

Leashore said “some people resist change. Some have to be drug into change.”