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City to begin collecting building rental fees

Free use of public buildings held by the City of Selma will be limited after June 1.

The Selma City Council approved a new ordinance Tuesday night regulating the use and costs of the buildings. The ordinance is the result of a recommendation of the City of Selma Building Rentals Subcommittee, which discovered earlier this year the city lost $30,137.50 in revenue in 2007. Council member Corey Bowie of Ward 8 chaired the subcommittee.

The Carl C. Morgan Convention Center, Larry Striplin Performing Arts Center, Vaughan Smitherman Museum and the Dallas Academy Building are owned and operated by the city and affected by the ordinance. Here are the fees per building:

Carl Morgan Convention Center: Monday-Friday, $175; Saturday & Sundays, $250; Weddings, $350

Larry Striplin Performing Arts Center: Entire building, $200; Miss Kittie Theater, $175; Reception area, $125

Vaughan Smitherman Museum: Entire building, $250

Dallas Academy Building: Office space, $50 per month

The rental is for eight hours for the convention center, performing arts center and museum. The rental includes decorating and clean-up time. Any time over the eight hours will cost the renter an additional $50 for every 30 minutes. The rentals for these buildings will not extend beyond midnight, which includes clean-up, unless the renter receives prior approval from the Selma City Council.

People wanting to rent the buildings must fill out an agreement and make a deposit within two weeks after reserving the building. The rest of the fee must be paid two weeks prior to the event. The security deposit is $100. It will be refunded unless there is damage to the building, the rental fees go unpaid, the event is canceled or the building is left dirty.

People who have already reserved any of the buildings and who have completed an application, paid 50 percent of the deposit or paid a security deposit are exempt from the increase in fees.

Municipal elected officials will receive one free rental per year for all the buildings and pay half the cost of the rentals after the free rental. But if the rental of the building is for official city business, such as a ward meeting, the city will waive the rental fee.

City employees may rent the buildings at half the fee for three times in a year, then must pay full price.

A citizen cannot reserve a building and call a council person or city employee to make the reservation or confirm the reservation.

The use of a building by any non-profit organization or the Selma city schools may be classified as a city-sponsored event. A school event is defined as when the event is approved by the school principal. A school or non-profit must have an official from that body appear before the Selma City Council for approval of each event, even if it is an annual event. If the council approves the event as co-sponsored by the City of Selma, then no fee will be charged. But the school or non-profit cannot charge an entry fee at the door, except for schools conducting fundraisers.

The Dallas Academy Building may be leased for any non-profit needing a room or office space. The director of public buildings will place the applicant. Non-profit groups that use the building will submit a quarterly report summarizing their activities for the prior three months.