Turnout for city audit review was disappointing

Published 4:42 pm Saturday, August 30, 2014

Have there been times when we have disagreed with Selma City Councilwoman Bennie Ruth Crenshaw? Yes.

Have there been times when we have agreed with Selma City Councilwoman Bennie Ruth Crenshaw? Yes.

Never has she been more right than she was Tuesday when she vocalized her amazement at how few council members attended a special meeting of the council to review the city’s financial audit.

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During a 40-minute presentation, Crenshaw, Ward 6 councilman B.L. Tucker and Ward 1 councilman Cecil Williamson were the only three members of the 9-member board to attend. Selma Mayor George Evans and city treasurer Cynthia Mitchell also attended the presentation.

Evans even spoke out in disbelief when he saw the amazingly low turnout by council members. Williamson even called the turnout disappointing.

Crenshaw went one step further and said what others were thinking.

“I can’t think of anything more important than our finances,” Crenshaw said. “It comes down to what you find important. If they don’t feel this important than you need to wonder what they do find important.”

When only a third of the council is concerned about the state of the city’s finances, then you have to truly wonder what they find more important. Without a strong financial foundation, no other program, no other service can be successful.

Council meetings are quite often built around projects in wards, new parks, sidewalks and programs, all of which take money.

We are sure there were some excuses — good excuses — of why those missing from Tuesday’s meeting could not attend. But this meeting was not called at the last minute; it was not a surprise.  This meeting was properly announced and advertised well in advance.

With the continued work to improve sales tax collections and looming budget decisions, it is crucial more than a third of the council take interest. With these decisions, we need everyone on hand and taking part.