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Council passes movie theater tax intentions

Selma City Council members paved the way Tuesday for a two-screen movie theater and IMAX theater to settle in the Selma Mall.

Members of the council present Tuesday afternoon voted to levy a gross receipt movie ticket tax on the theater within the city limits. Only Cecil Williamson of Ward 1 was absent. He was in court.

Gaiter Ventures Inc. wants to develop and construct the theaters, which would cost about $1.5 million, according to a resolution approved by the council. Ceasar Gaiter III of Atlanta was in a meeting about the movie theater business in Orlando, Fla., and could not talk about the Selma venture.

Gaiter would use private funds to build out the old Goody’s location in the Mall for the project.

Charlotte Griffeth, director of the Selma Community Development Department, said the next process would see an ordinance drafted. Griffeth said representatives from her department and the principles would meet with other groups, such as those involved in economic development, related to the venture.

“It is a process,” she said.

Griffeth stressed that Tuesday’s vote says only the theater would have a ticket tax.

“The council will decide how much,” she said.

Councilman Johnnie M. Leashore of Ward 6 praised the venture.

“This is a good thing for our people,” he said.

Councilwoman Bennie Ruth Crenshaw of Ward 7 reminded the council a movie theater was a portion of the $12 million bond issue proposed late last year by Mayor James Perkins Jr.

“We need to keep on task, even though this failed in the bond,” she said.

A brochure handed to potential voters in the weeks prior to the bond issue showed the city proposing $2 million for a movie theater.

Victor Inge, who works in community development, help put the project together, said Darlene Rudolph, administrative assistant to Perkins. Inge declined comment and referred all questions to Gaiter.