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Consultant contract approved by city

SELMA — This city may be on its way to realizing a public safety building. Although the concept is there, the initial steps are taken, but realization is still in the future.

The Selma City Council voted Tuesday night to hire police consultant Dr. Ralph Iomio to help secure the building.

Dr. Iomio’s contract is a month-to-month agreement for six months at $1,700 per month.

Iomio would search for money for the initial phase, which is to find a site and have an engineer draw plans for a new building.

Grant money is available through Homeland Security, Iomio explained a week ago during a presentation to the Selma City Council Public Safety Committee.

Council member Susan Keith, a member of the Public Safety Committee, proposed the full council approve Iomio’s contract.

Already, Mayor George Evans has identified an existing structure — the Good Samaritan building on Broad Street as a possibility for a location.

“It would need some work,” said Mr. Evans, “but the structure is there and it is sound. There is plenty of room.”

Iomio has said existing structures are more likely to win approval from the federal government for rehabilitation than new structures.

Other council members agreed the Good Samaritan building would put to use a structure with history and would also help rehabilitate a neighborhood that sees higher crime than some others in the city.

This is not the first time Iomio has been on the job for the city. Nearly two years ago, he completed a study of the Selma Police Department and made a series of recommendations for improvement.

Among those: a new public safety building to take the place of the current one, which is in disrepair.