Mayor Perkins spoke Tuesday at Selma Rotary Club

Published 10:04 am Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. was the guest speaker at the Selma Rotary Club on Monday.

Perkins said his speech was not the state of city address, but more of an update from the January 12 tornado that devastated the area.

A few City of Selma department heads who appeared at the meeting gave updates.

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City of Selma Cemetery Director Reginald Wells gave an update on New Live Oak Cemetery. Wells said over 70 oak trees are down at the cemetery and FEMA controls the situation.

“FEMA has made this a slow process,” Wells said. “Archaeologists also have to come in and examine the roof falls for artifacts.”

Perkins added: “You can’t put big trucks in a cemetery. FEMA won’t let us. We wan to prevent damage to the cemetery.”

City of Planning Director Danielle Wooten gave an overview of Disaster Data of the January 12 tornado. Her data included: 1,800 families being displaced, over 400 businesses impacted.

Wooten also said that FEMA received 3,170 applications, 2,586 got forwarded and 1,080 were approved. Wooten added that 844 didn’t meet the requirement, 491 needed rental assistance.

Wooten and Perkins both said that FEMA determined 75 percent of tornado victims were renting properties.

Perkins said that his office is seeking information through the school systems in Selma and Dallas County to search for homeowner.

Public Works Director Henry Hicks said the city is seeking CDL drivers and said a lack of manpower is a big reason for the slow pickup of trash.

As the meeting closed, two Rotary Club members asked Perkins about the dispute between his office and the Selma City Council over the city budget. He addressed the lawsuit he filed last month. They are currently negotiating.

“The last thing I wanted to do was go through ligitation,” Perkins said. “If I hadn’t, the Municipal Government would have shut down. The Judge is requiring us to negotiate the budget.”