Melton: Council should allocate $1M for relief

Published 4:41 pm Tuesday, March 17, 2020

After U.S. President Donald Trump declared a national State of Emergency and Gov. Kay Ivey declared a State of Emergency for Alabama on Friday, Selma Mayor Dario Melton released a letter declaring a state of emergency for the City of Selma on Saturday.
According to the letter, the City of Selma is “taking proactive and preventative measures to protect citizens” by: suspending travel for all city employees for the next 60 days; examining sick leave and telework policies; preparing with staffing contingency plans for absenteeism; closing all public facilities to events; postponing all Parks and Recreation activities; requesting the City Council set aside $1 million for potential issues that may arise from COVID-19; halting, with the help of Selma Water and Sewage Board, all disconnection of water services for customers over the next 60 days; requesting all utility companies halt the disconnection of service for the next 30 to 60 days for gas, electricity, phone and internet services; and requesting all landlords halt evictions for the next 60 days.
role in keeping our city healthy,” said Melton.
Selma City Councilwoman and mayoral candidate Miah Jackson issued a statement the following Sunday calling into question Melton’s proposal to set aside $1 million for potential COVID-19 related issues.
“The Mayor’s request from the Selma City council to approve and set aside $1 million related to COVID-19…is an exaggeration of the federal recommendations and excessive for Selma’s budget and population size,” said Jackson. “Alabama’s population has a total of approximately 4.8 million citizens with a state general fund budget of 2.1 billion dollars. Selma, however, has a population of approximately 17,000, which is less than one percent of the state population and a budget of approximately 17 million dollars. The mayor is requesting nearly six percent of the city’s annual budget. If the State of Alabama is considering allocating five million dollars of the state general fund budget in emergency COVID-19 funding for 67 counties, 450+ cities and a population of 4.8 million citizens, why is the mayor requesting of the council an excessive 1 million dollars – almost six percent of Selma’s budget?”