There is no excuse for the town being in so much debt/behind in finances. I am also trying to comprehend why Selma has 100 people on staff for a town this size. I have seen towns with larger population function with far fewer people on the payroll.
One example is the town where I grew up. I use this as an example, since I am familiar with the town. In Franklin, New Hampshire, there is a population of 8683. That is not that much larger than Selma. It is somewhere between Selma (6600) and Smithfield (11,700) in population. There are a total of 304 people on the payroll there. HOWEVER, that includes all primary and secondary education personnel. Unlike in NC, the school systems there are locally controlled and funded. That probably accounts for some of why their SAT scores are always in the top of the nation yet have among the smallest amount of funding per capita in the nation.
Anyway, if you subract the school system employees from the amount of employees on the payroll (for a fair comparison), Franklin only has 89 employees. This includes a full time fire department, which Selma does not have. The City of Franklin also does their own sanitation, rather than contracting it out like we do here. They do their own water and sewer, but not electricity system. The link I gave to the city data shows the break down.
With supposed revenue generating endeavors such as an electricity delivery, water, and sewer systems, WHY THE HELL is Selma spending so much money?
Another noteworthy comparison is how the two towns compare in area. Selma is only 3.5 square miles. The City of Franklin (yes, it actually has a city charter) is 27.6 square miles. That means more roads to maintain, more water and sewer lines than we have in Selma, and fire protection (and EMS) region to cover.
I don't know all the reasons for financial differences or problems, but I hope to see the information soon. I also hope that the current members of the town council here have the backbone to make the necessary changes and take the hard decisions necessary.
I am not bitter, but rather an interested observer in all of this. I read stories like the one below from WMPM and remember hearing how much people said they wanted a change in town government prior to the last election. Then voters re-elected half of the very town council under whose watch we got into this financial crisis. My face does not appear on the town's web site, so I can only write about it, not vote on it.
Selma Town Council Considering Layoffs, Eliminating Positions Due To Budget Crisis - The Selma Town Council may have to layoff or eliminate some positions because of a budget crisis. In a special council meeting on Tuesday, Selma Mayor Charles Hester said five or six positions could be cut from the 100 person staff. Interim Town Manager Jim Vones said as of January 31, the town had spent $400,000 more than they had collected this fiscal year. During the last fiscal year, the town had to spend $800,000 in reserve funds just to balance the budget. The spending crisis came to light in October following a report from a new auditor. No action was taken during Tuesday’s special session. The council agreed to meet again on Friday to review a list of employees and their wages, plus to start the process of hiring a new town manager. Seven candidates have applied for the position following the resignation [Troy's note: In reality, it should read "firing"]of former town manager Jeff White.