Bond issue project list needs cuts

Published 12:07 am Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Plans for a bond issue election on Oct. 27 continue with the last town meeting set for Thursday.

The town meeting is scheduled for Morgan Academy at 6 p.m.

Just an hour after that meeting begins, the Selma City Council will begin its work session to discuss what items it would like to see on the bond issue.

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The council set the bond issue at $10 million.

Recently, Mayor George Evans said the city could pay off the bond issue over 10 years with money left over from an ad valorem bond fund.

The ad valorem bond fund was set up to pay off bonds issued in 1999, but the fund has a $4 million balance, which the city can spend only to retire bonds.

Ad valorem taxes are taxes charged according to value of property.

On Tuesday Evans proposed a $12 million bond issue with a 12-year life.

“It is the same as the $10 million bond issue, except it will take two more years to pay it off because it is larger,” Evans told the council during a city meeting.

In the beginning the city’s bond projects list totaled $15 million. During the last month, the mayor has whittled it down to $13 million.

Evans said $12 million would leave less to have to pare down, but would not hurt taxpayers because the money would come from the bond fund.

Evans told the council the bond fund generates about $900,000 to $1 million per year, depending on the year.

But some councilmembers seemed uncomfortable with those estimates.

Council member the Rev. Dr. Cecil Williamson asked for an accounting of how much ad valorem taxes had grown the bond fund during the last decade.

Meanwhile the council will examine the projects Thursday during its work session.

“We would like for the council to get feedback from the meetings in a collective format as it relates to wants or deletions,” said Council President Dr. Geraldine Allen.

Already, the council has said cameras should not be part of the bond and that it wants each item itemized “exact to the penny,” said Allen.

“Some council members want the bond to go to building and repairs rather than other items,” the council president said.

For a new list of bond issue items, go to