City of Selma will make payroll

Published 4:47 pm Friday, October 19, 2018

The City of Selma found a way to make payroll for its employees this week.

At a special called meeting on Friday at City Hall, the City Council and Mayor Darrio Melton agreed to move money from another account from the general fund and Brown YMCA to reach payroll, according to Council President Corey Bowie. Bowie said the amount will be a total of $400,000.

Bowie said the city was unable to secure a line of credit, which is why they pulled money from various accounts. He also said the money will have to be replaced.

Email newsletter signup

According to Melton, the city payroll is $389,000. Melton said he is glad to reach a resolution.

“We don’t agree on everything, but we can find common ground,” Melton said. “The Mayor, city council and citizens need to work hand in hand.”

Another option was the council using a sum of money, $1.5 million, that’s currently in Trustmark Bank, but City Finance Manager of accounts receivable Shaquita Oliver said the money couldn’t be used because it’s tied into bonds. She said the bond money has existed since Jan. 24, 2017, Melton’s first year in office.

“By state law, what I’ve been told, that money can only be used to make a bond payment,” Oliver said.

“Basically, the money in the Trustmark account was a bond issue,” Bowie said. “A lot of times the bond funds are earmarked. I wanted to get clarity if it was restricted or not because it was never spelled out. It was a bond way back then. I can’t say when it was put in that account. It might’ve been a year ago.”

Bowie said it was not something that the council approved, but was an in-house transfer in the financial department.

This credit line will only cover the payment missing this Friday.

“This payroll that is due now is what will be covered, but I think we will be covered for our Nov. 3 payment as well,” said Bowie. “It is critical that as a city government, we tighten our belts, do an assessment of every line item. It is important for October, November and December being the cash cow of Selma.

“It is important we be frugal and smart in our spending,” Bowie continued. “I already know half of the income that is coming in will be earmarked for bills and everything, but we are looking at some internal control mechanism to make sure that we are in compliance and also make sure that our employees are getting paid.”

Several Selma City Public works employees attended the meeting and were thrilled with the end result.

Selma City Public Works employee James Johnson said it was unfair for city workers to get caught up in the mayor and city council battle.

“It’s not right for them to be playing with people’s livelihoods,” Johnson said.

Selma City Public Works employee Leon Mason said he was glad about the decision the council made.

“We have bills and things that need to be paid,” he said. “That would’ve hurt me pretty bad financially we are living check to check. You can’t just go home and ask what will we do?

“We should never have run into these types of problems. This city has never been this way, and I’ve been here a long time. Altogether, I think it’s been around 23 years. I started when we would carry the garbage cans on our shoulders and go from house to house.”

“We’re happy with the way things turned out,” Selma City Public Works employee Jerome Williams said.

Melton said the issue could repeat itself in November, when the month has three pay periods. He said the month’s sales tax won’t come until the end of November.

Bowie would not speak to the worst-case scenario.

“That could happen, but the only thing I could say is that we need to see what we can do with what we have now,” said Bowie.