SELMA, AL (WSFA) - We are less than two months away from the start of the new fiscal year. Last week the mayor of Selma unveiled his proposed budget ahead of the Oct. 1 deadline.
Selma Mayor Darrio Melton has been in office for 22 months. He said to date he still operates the city off of the previous administration's budget.
"We have been very successful at taking the budget we have inherited. We made strong cuts and held back certain positions in order to keep the city afloat," said Mayor Darrio Melton. " Our departments are working at a bare bones minimum right now. You can look throughout the city and services are not being performed at full capacity."
In March the council voted down the Mayor's 2017-2018 budget and passed a continuation of the 2016-2017 budget.
"I want to be held accountable, but you can't hold me accountable if you don't give me the resources I need to be held accountable with," said Melton.
On Aug. 3 Melton sent his proposed 2018-2019 budget to the city council. Unlike last year's proposal there are no cuts, instead a steam of new revenue. He said the goal is to build a safer, smarter, and stronger Selma.
"The biggest thing you will see in this budget is a sales tax. It is a public safety sales tax, a one-cent sales tax, designated strictly to public safety. Police and fire are included. There is equipment both departments needs and they have not received in years. We are trying to make sure we solidify those departments. We are asking the council to earmark it if they see fit to vote to pass this sales tax," said Melton.
The one-cent sales tax for public safety is projected to bring in roughly $2.2 million in additional revenue. This brings the proposed budget 's total to $22 million. Melton believes it would also help prepare for the future.
"The city of Selma has zero money in our reserve account. That is what we inherited. As a city you can't function without having emergency money on hand. That is what we are doing inside this budget," said Melton.
With Melton's suggestions submitted now citizens must wait and see what action the council takes by Oct. 1.
"We are talking about two months to engage this budget, to vet this budget, and come up with alternatives to this budget," said Melton. "I'm hopeful this time for the council to engage the budget I presented to them."
WSFA 12 News did reach out to Council President Corey Bowie, but have not heard back.
Mayor Melton said he plans talk to council members Thursday, during their meeting at city hall, about scheduling a series of budget hearings.