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More cutback measures discussed

Layoffs aren’t the only way Selma city officials see of fighting a deficit.

Mayor George Evans, the Selma City Council and department heads have several ideas about cutting back in creative ways.

One idea on the table consists of some city departments operating 32 hours a week, instead of 40. The Recreation Department, Public Works and others could work reduced weeks, Evans explained.

In turn, reduced work weeks would cut back on salaries paid city workers. Some departments couldn’t shut down. For example, the tax office would have to remain open and people could rotate days, Evans said.

The mayor’s office would remain open, but Evans said if the economy didn’t improve he would take a salary cut.

Department heads have indicated they would take a salary cut, if necessary to bring the budget in line.

Council President Geraldine Allen said she would take a cut in salary if the department heads have to take one. Other council members agreed they would follow the example.

Said Councilman Cecil Williamson, “We should all be willing to take at least a 10 percent cut in pay or whatever the department heads are taking.”

Each council member makes $14,400 a year, except the council president, who makes $20,000 a year and the council president pro-tem, who makes $15,000 a year.

Additionally, the council agreed to freeze its travel until the city’s finances improve. The council has $50,000 set aside for travel in the 2009 fiscal year budget.

Allen said if attendance at a function proved necessary, the council would send one individual or council members could pay their travel costs out of their pockets.

Allen also suggested each council member return $5,000 out of their discretionary funds to city coffers.

Discretionary funds are used for projects within wards or in combination with other council members for citywide projects. Council members usually have $15,000 in discretionary funds each year.