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Selma City Council OKs Fiscal Budget

The Selma City Council approved a budget for the 2022 Fiscal year at its council meeting on Tuesday night at City Hall.

The city council voted 5-3 to approve the $21 million budget it has worked on over the last month. The 2021 Fiscal year ends  on Thursday and the 2022 Fiscal year starts Friday, October 1.

City Council President Billy Young, Councilmen Clay Carmichael, Troy Harvill, and Councilwomen Christie Thomas and Jannie Thomas voted yes.

City Councilmen Sam Randolph, Michael Johnson and Atkin Jemison voted no. City councilwoman Lesia James was absent.

Via ZOOM Conference, Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. made a budget recommendation to carry the 2021 budget into next year while he speaks with the Department Heads and present a budget to the city council.

The city council rejected the plan, saying they worked nearly a month on a budget presented to them by Dawn Taylor, Perkins’ secretary. Taylor emailed the budget to Carneetie Ellison, the council Administrative Assistant.

“We dedicated a lot of time away from our families to

balance out a budget,” Jannie Thomas said. “We talked to the department heads for the things they need.”

Perkins said he disagreed with Thomas’ comment.

“The concern I have with Councilwoman Jannie Thomas’ statement is two-fold,” Perkins said. “I commend the council for taking the time to work on the budget. The council must consider the Department heads and I must execute the budget. We haven’t gone into any details on what the council wants. I’ve done the budget eight times. It’s my responsibility to recommend a budget.”

Harville, who’s head of the Finance Committee, said Perkins’ proposed 2022 budget did not look balanced, which the Mayor disagreed with.

“I would never present an unbalanced budget to the city council,” Perkins said. “In my view, when the city council hired an interim treasurer, you wanted to work with the interim treasurer on the budget. I stepped back because that’s what you wanted to do. You didn’t want to involve the Mayor.”

“I don’t care what you say, Mayor, you gave us a budget,” Harville said.

Perkins added that he wasn’t finished with the budget that Taylor emailed. He said it wasn’t finished.

“Taylor had no authorization to pass a budget,  it was an in-house working document,” Perkins said.

Christie Thomas said the department heads had the opportunity to speak during the budget hearings.

“What Councilwoman Christie Thomas said is not completely accurate,” Perkins said. “I allowed the department heads to meet with you. The Department heads have not seen what the council has done with the budget. Don’t try to force this, let us work with you.”

Young said things can always be worked on in the future.

“This is not the end all, be all,” Young said. “You can vote on a budget and it can be changed. It’s not the end of time.”