Council discusses code violations, funding

Published 9:56 pm Thursday, May 17, 2018

By Adam Dodson
The Selma Times-Journal

Members of the Selma City Council met Thursday night in the chambers of City Hall to discuss issues that have been on the minds of the council people and of residents, such as trash violations with the city code and possible ways to find more funds.

Present for the meeting were councilmen and councilwomen Jannie Thomas, Miah Jackson, Johnnie Leashore, Angela Benjamin, President Corey Bowie, Carl Bowline and Michael Johnson.
The council devoted the majority of their allotted time to discussing the ongoing issue with code violations related to trash occurring in every ward.

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Due to the city’s trash services decreasing to a single truck, certain residents have been known to leave their trash piled up, despite breaking code.
Councilwoman Jannie Thomas brought up the issue to her peers, saying a large portion of the issue is due to the city’s code enforcement department not following up with serial offenders.

“Some people are doing it (dumping trash) because they know nothing is going to be done about it,” Thomas said. “Citations are given, but nothing happens. We need to make sure these people go to court.”

Selma City Attorney Jimmy Nunn is aware of the trash violations, but has a word of advice for the best way to carry out enforcement.

“You catch more flies with honey than you do vinegar,” Nunn said. “I don’t want to threaten anyone.”

Possible solutions to aiding code enforcement in their efforts to find residents trashing their wards included the possibility of having an environmental court whose mission would be to serve over cases such as trash. This court would be in session once a week.

Bowie also coined the idea of giving a code enforcement officer arrest power in order to better hold residents accountable. According to Bowie, this would need to be addressed with Mayor Darrio Melton.

Melton also wrote a letter to Councilwoman Benjamin to be addressed to the council. In the letter, Melton suggests getting rid of the council people’s individual discretionary money. These redistributed funds, according to Melton, would help the council and the rest of the city government with many of the initiatives they wish to pursue.

However, not all on the council were on board for this proposal, citing they use the funds for their individual governance.

“I am not really for this. I have found we oftentimes have to go outside the department heads to get things done,” Jackson said.

In other business, Commerce director Sheryl Smedley announced that Selma will be part of an upcoming commercial shooting that will take place on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The date is to be announced.