Watching costs for city

Published 12:46 am Thursday, September 24, 2009

On Tuesday night the Selma City Council voted not to hire a consultant to finish writing the personnel manual for the city. This move by Corey Bowie, chairman of the city council’s administrative government committee, should have come as no surprise. He and other committee members Angela Benjamin and the Rev. B.L. Tucker said as much last week during the committee meeting.

During the city council meeting a couple of other opportunities came up for the city to hire consultants. One is a group that determines whether Charter Communications is paying the proper amount in franchise fees to the city.

Enough of the consultants already. They generally cost money, either from the general fund or they take a percentage of whatever is collected by the city.

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Selma’s city government already has pulled its fiscal belt hard. City employees have taken a 12.5 percent pay cut so government could provide services and maintain a balanced budget. Some city workers were laid off. For a while, the mayor mandated a hiring freeze.

Revenues have not come in as anticipated. The sales and lodging taxes still remain below what the city collected last year.

When a city has had to crunch its numbers as Selma has, why would the government select to hire outside consultants to do what people in-house likely could do?

The city should make the most of its available resources.