Selma battles budgets and crime

SELMA, Ala. (WSFA) -- Selma Mayor George Evans has a lot on his mind lately, including the difficult task of digging into the city's budget.

"I just cry inside because I just don't have an answer, other than to say we've got to do something," he said.

"We're still about $200,000 off from having the budget balanced."

The city's already swinging the ax--laying off some workers and implementing a 35 hour work week.

"We've already cut some departments to the bone already, and there may be some additional cuts coming," Evans explained.

Public safety could be next in line.

City leaders and the Selma Police Department are hashing out a plan to reduce spending, but residents say that's the one area to leave alone.

"I feel like there's a shortage of policemen, and it's due to money," said Selma resident Sherry Taylor.

Then, there's the issue of crime.  According to the Selma Police Department, assaults and rapes decreased from 2007 to 2008, but murders jumped 67%.

Many of those crimes involve teens.

"There's got to be a way out of this with open communication with the city government," exclaimed Kurt Taylor, also of Selma.

Police Chief William Riley says with cutbacks inevitable, the public will also have to step up.

"Be vigilant.  Be smart.  Use common sense, and call us if there's something that is suspicious," he advised.