City officials should focus on fixing city’s infrastucture to improve quality of life

Published 10:29 pm Monday, December 2, 2013

Four weeks ago, a major sewer pipeline collapsed behind the Selma Mall.

During last week’s city council meeting, the pipeline collapse was described as a major, affecting hundreds, potentially thousands of Selma residents.

Since the collapse, the city has rented a pump that diverts sewage around the collapse at a cost of $3,000 per month, which could quickly amount to a significant sum, if left unattended.

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Luckily, the city council found approximately $54,000 in the red-light camera fund to replace the 400-foot section of pipe.

But the pipeline isn’t the only collapsing piece of infrastructure in the city. Across Selma hundreds of roads are pocked with potholes and perhaps an equal amount of sewer lines haven’t been replaced in many of our lifetimes.

The city’s consultant, Ray Hogg, said the 400-foot section was installed in the 1960s, which begs the question: how much of the infrastructure across the city is preparing to collapse?

The city is operating on a shoestring budget, which is a major part of the problem. Projected revenue exceeds expenses by a small margin. It’s also worth mentioning that the city is mysteriously missing a large chunk of sales tax revenue. If a larger collapse happened in another area of the city, could Selma afford to pay for repairs?

Perhaps, but our infrastructure shouldn’t be in its current condition in the first place.

Local government should fulfill its responsibility to provide an adequate quality of life to its residents rather than providing for superfluous cravings. Bienville Park is slowly sinking into the Alabama River, sewage lines are collapsing and some of  our streets look more like gravel rather than concrete or asphalt. Though, the city is planning to resurface several main roads with grants from the Alabama Department of Transportation. But what about smaller, neighborhood roads?

Replacing a sewer pipeline may seem insignificant, until you flush your toilet and the contents begin spewing into your yard. Resurfacing a road may seem like a minor task, until a pothole causes a flat tire.

As a city grows, its infrastructure should follow. Unfortunately, the population of Selma is shrinking along with its revenue.

Whether its grants, securing sales tax revenue or recruiting additional industry, Selma needs to focus on and pay for infrastructure improvements.

By investing in our city’s most basic needs, the overall quality of life will increase.