Ward 7 residents favor all-or-nothing bond issue

Published 11:58 pm Thursday, July 23, 2009

Some residents in Ward 7 want to see an all-or-nothing bond issue.

The consensus evolved out of a meeting Thursday night at Selma Middle CHAT Academy.

About 125 people attended the meeting to hear proposed bond issue items and make suggestions. The election is scheduled for Oct. 27. Former Ward 6 Councilman Johnnie Leashore led the call for the bond issue to include all items.

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“The bond needs to be all or nothing,” the former councilman said to a roomful of applause and cheers.

Leashore served for four years. He was defeated by the Rev. B.L. Tucker last year. Tucker took office in November.

Leashore said all the proposed items on the bond issue are important to the black community because “the black community has been neglected and deprived.”

A similar bond issue proposed by then-Mayor James Perkins Jr. failed last year. The bond issue totaled about $12 million. But some items on the offering, such as a movie theater, were rejected by voters.

Perkins was defeated last year in a re-election bid by George Evans, the former president of the Selma City Council.

On Thursday Evans said he understood many of the same items appear on this bond issue proposal as did the last one.

“I believe the city needed some of those things then, and I believe the city needs them now,” Evans said.

The mayor said he wants to see a bond issue ballot that will allow voters to either select all projects or to pick and choose the projects they support.

Initially, the list of bond issue items totaled $15 million. Evans said the city needs to pare down the list to $10 million. He is asking through the town meetings for citizens to help make the cuts.

Each person attending the meeting received two lists. One of the lists showed the needs by department and the estimated cost of each item. The other list provided a place for residents to agree or disagree with that particular item or to make suggestions for new ones.

Councilwoman Bennie Ruth Crenshaw told the crowd, many from her Ward 7, the bond issue projects needed to focus on the most neglected areas of the city. Those areas, she said, need curbs and gutters and sewer work. She specifically pointed out the areas around Memorial Stadium did not need as much work.

Crenshaw said she wants $350,000 out of the bond issue to plant grass, provide lights for and fence the landfill in her district, which is closing later this year.

“We have lots of things to do and not much to do it with,” she said.

Evans reminded the crowd the projects are not set in stone.

“This is a work in progress,” he said.