Council weighs extending current budget 60 days

Published 5:22 pm Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Selma City Council has discussed extending the current year’s budget into the 2018 budget year.

The council has yet to vote on a budget, which must be passed by state law when the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

During Thursday’s council work session, council president Corey Bowie recommended extending the current budget for 60 days.

“By state law, we have to pass a balanced budget or continue on the prior year’s budget. It would probably be in the best interest of the council if we move ahead with the prior year’s budget,” Bowie said.

Mayor Darrio Melton started to present an $18.7 million budget during a budget hearing Wednesday, but City Treasurer Ronita Wade said she couldn’t recommend revenue that high. She instead presented the council with an alternate $17.6 million budget.

The dueling budgets resulted in the budget hearing being adjourned by Bowie. The hearing was rescheduled for Thursday night but was canceled after Bowie’s recommendation.

Not only would the extension allow the city time to finalize a budget, but it would also give council members the chance to consider information from a city employee pay plan Auburn University is working on.

Auburn is working to write job descriptions for every position in the city and devise a step-plan for pay increases in all departments.

Councilman Johnnie Leashore asked Bowie if he had discussed his plan with the mayor. Melton is responsible for presenting a budget to the council.

“It’s the mayor’s responsibility to submit one [a budget], not the council’s,” Leashore said.

Bowie had not discussed the idea with Melton, saying he was just “putting it out there.”

However, the mayor said he would entertain extending the current $17.4 million budget in the short-term.

“I would definitely entertain that kind of conversation with the council,” Melton said. “I think that’s something we can work through. I think this is an opportunity to continue to move the city forward.”