Lights, cameras, but no action taken yet

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

Officials made a hard sell Monday night of the wireless security system it wants to install to help police the city.

Workers with Security Solutions Inc. demonstrated their system for people who attended a third hearing on an estimated $12 million bond issue push.

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The bond issue would also include construction of marinas along the Alabama River and a movie theater among other projects.

Under the security system, 189 cameras would record data at 10 frames a second, providing authorities with &8220;eyewitness&8221; accounts of criminal hotspots in Selma. The proposed network would appear similar to a wireless mesh over the city, allowing authorities to move the cameras at different times when more security is needed in a place.

Yet, few people seemed interested in the demonstration before the hearing.

Some people looked at it afterward.

Inside the meeting, attention turned to the overall bond issue as residents packed council chambers. If the council approves a vote, Selma residents could vote on the issue as early as January.

One resident, Sylvia Smith, raised concerns that the bond issue would take money away from the city’s ability to provide for other city needs.

Mayor James Perkins Jr. said the city has ample funding sources to maintain services, such as education. &8220;I assure you that the investment bankers and the bond attorneys would not carry this city out to market (if they didn’t think the city could handle the debt capacity),&8221; he said.

Other residents worried that the city wouldn’t do what they say they will do with the money.

Perkins said that if citizens vote to issue the bond for specific projects, the city is legally bound to spend the money that way.