City Finances dominate work session

Published 7:55 pm Thursday, December 6, 2018

The $400,000 earmarked for education spending for Selma city Schools in 1982 was the biggest topic at the Selma City Council work session on Thursday at city hall.

The idea of using that money to bring back the 68 laid off city employees came from last month’s finance meeting.

Councilman John Leashore said the subject shouldn’t be discussed.

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“I think we need to put that idea to rest,” Leashore said. “The city council doesn’t have the authority to take the money.”

Councilwoman Susan Youngblood said there could be ways to look into the amount set by the city council in 1982.

“We can always revisit and realign,” Youngblood said.  “The school system has gotten money from other sources. The city’s population has been going down and the school’s population is going down. I feel strongly about education, but we need to employ people too.”

Council President Corey Bowie said the council needs to have a meeting with Selma City Schools Superintendent Dr. Avis Williams and the school board to discuss the situation.

“We’re in limbo,” Bowie said. “We don’t know what our finances are. It could affect their federal programs. My recommendation would be to wait until the 2019 fiscal year.”

Youngblood said she’d like to see a copy of the school system’s financial budget.

Councilwoman Angela Benjamin said Mayor Darrio Melton’s suggestion that the city council taking the $400,000 away from the children is absurd.

Councilman Sam Randolph recommended the council file an injunction against Melton.

“He’s suing us, why not sue him?” Randolph said. “My heart hurts for our employees. This mayor is holding our city hostage. He didn’t have to layoff the employees. He’s breaking all of these laws.”

Bowie said he will invite Melton to Tuesday’s council meeting for an update on the council’s work order requests. Councilwomen Miah Jackson, Jannie Thomas and Benjamin all wanted to know the status of their submitted work orders.