City budget pushed back 90 more days

Published 8:59 pm Monday, December 4, 2017

The Selma City Council voted last week to extend a vote on a budget for the current fiscal year for 90 days.

The extension was requested by Mayor Darrio Melton last week, who is awaiting the results of a new pay plan that will provide new in-depth job descriptions for positions in the city and a pay scale.

“Whatever they are going to give us will impact our budget drastically,” Melton said. “When you start talking about employees’ salaries and different positions, it will actually impact our budget on a major scale.”

Melton sent council members a letter before last Tuesday’s meeting asking for the extension. He said the plan was supposed to be turned in to the city by November, but it has not been completed.

“We were hoping they would give it to us before the end of the year, but I’m not sure given it’s the holiday season that that’s going to happen,” Melton said.

Melton said he has a budget prepared to present to the council, but he wants to wait until the pay plan is completed so any adjustments can be made. The plan was voted on before Melton took office.

“The council voted on this study and paid substantial money for this study,” he said. “Not to take the advice or the recommendations to a certain extent … I think would be a failure having invested all that money and waited all this time to have held up the budget process and not take up the recommendations.”

Melton said one of his goals coming into office was putting a pay scale in place so employees are not dependent on a one-time raise each year.

“What we’re aiming for in this administration is not just a one-time pay raise but increased wages once and for all so they won’t be dependent on one-time pay raises,” he said. “We can’t bring talent into this city and expect not to pay the wages that are going to attract that talent, so that’s what we’ve been working on since day one, making sure that employees are being adequately paid in this city.”

Melton said salaries take up approximately 60 percent of the budget, and he expects there to be drastic changes once the pay plan is completed.

“There is no doubt there will be increases in salary,” he said. “There will be some huge changes throughout the budget.”

The budget Melton has prepared is around $16 million, which he said includes a large number of cuts.

“We actually do have a budget prepared to give to the council,” he said. “The budget we will give to them will be a budget with a lot of cuts, but it will not have the salaries that Auburn recommends for the positions that we have in Selma right now.”

Council President Corey Bowie said the pay plan would be used as a barometer to measure where the city is at with its salaries. Bowie said voting on a budget with the adjusted salaries will depend on funding to match the increases.

“We have to keep in mind the funding sources that we have allocated for the budget to make sure that we’re in line with the pay plan,” Bowie said. “There are still some dynamics that we have to work out to make sure that we have the allotted funds.”

The city is currently operating off of last year’s budget.