Council members should show up

Published 10:56 pm Thursday, September 30, 2010

Today is Oct. 1, a Friday. It is also the beginning of a new fiscal year for most government operations, including the city of Selma.

Thursday night, the Selma City Council had scheduled a called meeting to adopt the present budget to run them over into the new fiscal year, which ended at midnight.

The council has yet to really consider a new budget, having had it in hand for about a month.

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Many questions were raised during a work session, which preceded the called meeting, which by the way, never occurred.

Quite frankly, the budget looks pretty bad. Revenues are down again, as they have been for at least four years. Expenditures have been cut, but the cost of living for items such as health insurance continue to pound away.

City officials are looking at a $17 million budget, which needs paring down to about $16.5 million.

After council President Cecil Williamson and Council members Susan Keith and Corey Bowie raised questions about the proposed budget in rapid fire sequence similar to a machine gun, Mayor George Evans slowed down the proceedings, telling council members he would meet with them one-on-one in his office with the appropriate department head to answer whatever issues they had.

So much for transparency in government.

But this issue doesn’t rest solely at Evans’s feet. The so-called called meeting for the council to adopt the present year’s budget until it could approve a new one didn’t happen because the council didn’t have a quorum.

Those present were Keith, Bowie, Williamson and Councilwoman Angela Benjamin.

The only member of this august board who could not have made the meeting was Sam Randolph, who is recuperating at Vaughan Regional Medical Center. The others absent should have cleared their calendars this week as a matter of course. At this time of year, there is nothing more important for a council member than to decide how the taxpayers’ dollars are allocated.