I stayed for the loooooooong Selma Town Council meeting last night. There were a lot of topics on the table. The meeting lasted over three hours. There was a lot of "grandstanding" and some power plays. The good thing is that it was all there for everyone to see.
The town is already over $400K behind in the budget. There were no huge money saving measures passed last night, although a few policies may help. I don't know. A few actions that were taken will turn out to be futile and petty. A few may help things.
Mayor Hester steamrolled over citizens and council members on the issue of train quiet zones and closing the courthouse. I agree that tough decisions need to be made. However, the manner in which things were done was a bit rude and excessively forceful.
To put out a sign along Hwy. 301 adversiting a "Town Meeting" and to then stomp on citizen comment during issues that warrant citizen input is inappropriate. There is also a time and a place for citizen input and a time to allow the elected officials do what they were elected to do. Last night was not a good balance.
Personally, I am ambivalent about the closing of the town's courthouse. I think that the idea of a "quiet zone" for railroad traffic is inappropriate, considering the financial impact on the town.
Some things bothered me, such as the approval to continue to give thousands of dollars of town funds to some area charities (not that there is anything wrong with these charities or their work) yet complain that the town can't meet its own financial obligations.
Another thing that bothers me is that the town is about to get a $750,000 loan from the USDA for water supply improvements. I am fine with the improvements, as I see them as necessary to the town's future. The problem is that we are going to borrow the money from the U.S. Government. We get taxed to provide the loan funding by the feds and then are going to pay for it on the other end over the next 40 years through water service rates. It is pork projects like this that cause a nearly $3 trillion dollar federal budget. Granted, less than a million dollars is negligible by comparison. However, it is the concept of paying for it on both ends that burns me up and is, in my opinion, irresponsible in the long run. I despise the mentality of looking to the state, county, or federal governments for funding in all that we do. The town looks to the state. The state looks to the feds. The feds look to my wallet (and yours). When does it end?
There are more things on my mind, but I will ponder them a bit more.