SELMA, AL (WSFA) -Mayor Darrio Melton met with department heads and city employees Monday to notify them of citywide layoffs. He says the layoffs will go into effect Nov. 5 and will impact a minimum of 68 employees.
“This is going to impact not only employees and their families, it is going to impact all the citizens of Selma," Melton explained. "There will be a cut back in services. There may also be a slow response to calls when it comes to needs they have from the city government,” he went on.
Melton said the decision was made after it was discovered that the budget passed by the city council on Sept. 26 did not account for an outstanding debt the city has.
“The council passed a budget that was shared with the public and believed to be a balanced budget," Melton explained. "However, after the budget was passed we soon discovered that we would have the possibility of not making payroll this coming week. Immediately we looked deeper into the issue that we have. With the outstanding debt we have to the tune of $1.2 million currently we had to make a decision between making payroll or paying the debt.”
In addition to the layoffs, some public buildings may be shut down due to the lack of staffing and events not under contract may be cancelled. According to mayor, the police and fire department will maintain their current level of staffing.
“It is my hope the council and myself can work together to find a common solution to address all of these departments to make sure families are kept whole," Melton express. "During this time of year who wants to lay off people, first off for any reason, but especially during the holiday season?”
The city is expected to know by Wednesday if it will even be able to make payroll for the week.
“It is due to the lack of revenue coming in. If we are unable to make payroll Oct. 19, we will definitely be able to make it next week Oct. 26 based on the nature of our sales taxes coming in at the end of the month. However we will have payroll the following week again on Nov. 2 and we are not sure we will be able to make that payroll because of the lack of revenue that is coming in,” Melton stated.