Bond issue increases to $12M

Published 12:59 am Wednesday, September 2, 2009

SELMA — Selma’s bond issue went up from $11 million to $12 million in the span of about two hours Tuesday night.

Mayor George Evans walked into a special meeting of the Selma City Council with a list of proposed bond projects he and city department heads had whittled down to $11,072,707.07.

A majority of the city council voted to increase the total amount of the bond issue to $12 million by adding about $860,000 in items.

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Those new items included $350,000 to complete closing the landfill in Ward 8. Council member Bennie Ruth Crenshaw said the money is needed to ensure the landfill is properly closed and reclaimed.

Additionally, the council voted to add another $400,000 to the bond issue to give each ward $50,000 for razing dilapidated houses or for street repairs, depending on the need.

“I had attorney [Jimmy] Nunn check that out on a legal basis and he said it was legal,” said council president Dr. Geraldine Allen.

A majority of the council also voted to removed $500,000 from the bond issue items that would see purchases of short-lived equipment.

Council member Dr. Monica Newton said $1,070,000 of the bond issue was designated for equipment purchases for machines that would not last the life of the bond.

“As I think about this, I would really like to include some of this in next year’s fiscal budget,” she said.

A majority of the council also voted to take $250,000 from repairing public buildings and put it in public works for equipment.

Mayor George Evans became visibly frustrated at having to find $250,000 to deduct from public works and the cemetery and recreation departments.

“Short-term equipment is going to be zero turn mowers, pickup trucks,” he said. “The question is how do I go back to these people and cut this money? Now we have cut the budget already and I asked you all all last two months and I have worked with these people for the last two months to get all of these reductions and you would have had to do was give it to me a long time ago. We wouldn’t be here today to do this. It’s disturbing It’s the final straw. I’ve been giving you these. I’ve been giving you these for two months, asking you to give me an idea of what you want to take from them.”

Evans said he didn’t know where the $12 million is coming from.

“And you’re going to take $200,000 from public buildings,” he said. “What public buildings are you going to take from? Y’all tell me what buildings this $250,000 is coming from.”

Crenshaw said she had heard that if these museums had boards they could seek grants.

“There is money,” she said. “It’s just got to be worked at in order to get it. That’s what I was getting at in terms of that $250,000. They could generate that.”

Benjamin thanked Evans for cutting the bond proposal down to $11 million because it gave the council room to add some things it thought important.

The council voted to put the bond ordinance on first reading.

The council meets again Tuesday.