Selma City Council approved removal of down trees at Old Live Oak Cemetery

Published 7:48 pm Saturday, January 28, 2023

The Selma City Council approved the removal of downed trees that had tornado damage at Old Live Oak Cemetery at an Emergency city council meeting on Thursday.

The emergency city council meeting at council chambers was called by Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. for the $9,950 purchase order of Frank Middleton Jr. to remove the trees with tornado damage.

Perkins informed the city council Tuesday that he would call for emergency meetings every time something had to be spent after the city council voted 5-3 to put the Mayor on a $5,000 limit for purchasing items for damage repair from the January 12 tornado that hit Selma.

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City Council President Billy Young, council members Troy Harvill, Jannie Thomas, Christie Thomas, and Clay Carmichael voted for the spending limit. Council members Lesia James, Michael Johnson, and Atkin Jemison voted no.

Carmichael said the city council took the meeting on four-hour notice and they are trying to work with Perkins.

“The mayor requested this at 12:15 Thursday afternoon, and we held the meeting and passed it,” Carmichael said. “If he comes to us with another one, we’ll do the same. It does not matter what the request is, as long as it’s reasonable, I’m sure we’ll entertain it.”

Former Selma City Councilwoman Angela Benjamin posted on Social Media disagreeing with the city council taking emergency meetings.

“You all don’t have to have a meeting because the mayor requested it,” Benjamin said. “Y’all need to step it up. I’ve been trying to be quiet. The word “emergency” has been thrown around so loosely these days. If you all don’t see an emergency and he does, then let him call it. I missed the meeting ‘cause hey, I was out there in those tornado victim streets. What exactly was the emergency?”

Carmichael responded to Benjamin’s comment. “We’re trying to work with the man… I’ll get criticized one way or the other. You know this all too well. We did what was asked of us.”

Benjamin said working with “Perkins is one thing, but clearly wasting the people’s time and money is another. I truly have never ever seen this many special called meetings on matters that should have been or can be covered at the general session.”

Since that emergency meeting, Perkins has been diagnosed with COVID-19.