SMITH: Constant bickering at City Hall should stop

Published 8:23 pm Wednesday, February 14, 2018

It is quite apparent by now if any New Year’s resolutions, or hopes for compromise or working together between the mayor and city council were made, it was all for naught. It appears we are in for the same old tired back and forth over issue after issue. Actually, some of the old issues should have already been put to rest.

Ms. Ronita Wade must wake up every morning wondering whether to dress for work or not. One day she is in, the next day she is out. It seems Ms. Wade is entitled to a definite in or out, as well as the city spared all the confusion. Isn’t it reasonable to believe, if Ms. Wade had any idea she violated any laws or was incompetent in the performance of her duties, she would have simply took her first firing and rode off into the sunset. Contrarily, she has tried desperately to be reinstated apparently thinking she was unjustly fired. It begs to question how the work of the treasurer has gone on in the absence of the treasurer. It is either an essential position or it is not. If a treasurer is not needed for the city to operate, then another police officer could be hired or a few pot holes filled in with the money.

Speaking of money, a proposal before the city council was contemplating trying to raise property taxes. Before I could get this written and published, they changed their mind. However, they are looking at any means of increasing the revenue stream coming into the city coffers. Thankfully and wisely, this property tax proposal also was withdrawn, at least for the present.

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I believe it would have been difficult to convince taxpayers to vote themselves a tax increase with all the turmoil going on at city hall. There is an accountability and transparency concern with the money they are already getting. It seems our millage rate is already equivalent or exceeding other cities in the area. You can only raise property taxes so much without paying a price of lower revenue due to residents fleeing. The price for mass exodus and no influx of new home ownership results in rundown neighborhoods, lower home values and less revenue. Selma has never quite recovered from the closing of Craig Air Force Base and also the exodus to Valley Grande and elsewhere. There were high hopes for Craig in the beginning, but it has not come to fruition at least aviation wise. We’re waiting.

It appears to be a downhill spiral unless city government is streamlined with cost effective and efficiency measures maximizing every dollar of revenue. Perhaps some of the less than essential positions should be eliminated and the money used for basic needs. In my opinion, it begs for a city manager type government. Speaking of essentials, Selma needs to focus on basics and essentials. Our elected officials would have us believe present revenue is not even sufficient to support those requirements.

I hardly think a splash pad fits the basics and essentials criteria. It might be nice to have, but only if affordable.