Bond issue passes

Published 3:03 am Wednesday, October 28, 2009

SELMA —A number of department heads waited in council chambers Tuesday night to hear the results of their bond propositions. As precincts came in, one-by-one their eyes filled with joy and most of all relief — all the propositions passed.

“First, I’d like to thank all the department heads who worked hard to get this bond passed and also the council for supporting this,” Mayor George Evans said. “Everyone put in a lot of work by going to meetings at night after their workdays and explaining to citizens why they needed the funds. All of the hard work paid off.”

The work and a half-dozen bond meetings did pay off for the City of Selma, to the tune of $12 million and 80.55 percent for the bond to just 19.44 against in the straight-ticket vote.

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The police department will get one of the biggest portions of the bond – $2,065,000. Chief of Police William T. Riley III was pleased not only that their proposition passed, but also that it passed with a high majority. The police department proposition passed with 83.32 percent for the bond and just 16.67 people against the bond.

“We are very excited about the bond passing, but more than that we are excited about the support from the community,” Riley said. “Now we are looking forward to upgrading our department to become a truly modern police department.”

Two major projects that the $2 million will go toward are the mobile data and replacing police cruisers.

The mobile data will put in car cameras and software into the cruisers. Riley said this will lend to citizens and officers being safer.

The other major project will replace old police cars with new cars.

“Officers spend from 80 to 90 percent of their work day in their cars,” he said. “We want our cars to be good, clean and allow officers to feel a sense of pride. The new cars will provide that plus we want have to spend as much on maintenance with the newer cars.”

Selma voters, who numbered 3,734, which is 24.25 percent of total registered voters, clearly supported public safety in the bond issue. The police department showed high support as well as the fire department with 84.35 percent support.

“We are very glad that public safety was supported by the community,” Interim Fire Chief Mike Stokes said. “It’s something that all the firefighters and officers take as a heartfelt sign of encouragement. It is just good to know that they community wants us to have the money too.”

The fire department will see $970,000 soon. More than half of that money will go to two large projects. The $575,000 will go to acquiring a new engine company and rescue company. The remaining money will go to fire station renovations.

“East End Fire Station will get an overhaul, Broad Street Station will have some major improvements and Cedar Park will get a new roof,” Stokes said. “Station four will have a new roof and some painting too. Right now we just feel thankful and blessed that the city has given us this great opportunity.”

Another proposition that showed high support was for one of the city’s jewels — the Selma-Dallas County Public Library.

Citizens voted 83.24 percent in favor of allotting the library $285,000. That money will go to improvements of the library.

The least supported proposition was for the landfill, which received only 69.44 percent positive votes.

Evans said he expects to see some changes in Selma in three months.

“I think that in 90 days people can expect to see some changes,” he said. “That should be when money begins being deposited into accounts and then the bidding process can begin.”

Several groups noted the overwhelming success of this bond issue. Evans said he contributed the triumph to the hard work of department heads and council members and the support of the citizens.

“There are still things that need to be done,” Evans said. “I’m sure we’ll look back and think we should have replaced one thing for another, but hindsight’s 20-20. All the things on the bond were needed.”