In the immortal words of the late, great Rush Limbaugh in his book title, “See, I Told You So.”

“But right now, the expenses are exceeding revenues.”
Ordinarily, I am not one to say, “I told you so”, but I TOLD YOU SO years ago.
I know that there is a paywall up on this news site, but basically, the town is losing money on the operations of the civic center and the town manager wants to make some common-sense changes to attempt to make it easier for the venue to get used. Of course, there is always something for which there is pushback.

Here is the text of the article.

SELMA — The Selma Civic Center is losing money, and the rules governing its use aren’t helping, Town Manager Brent Taylor told the Town Council last week.

“It’s really hard to give a true picture due to COVID and the restrictions,” Taylor said, suggesting that the virus and the lockdowns it spawned have dampened revenue. “But right now, the expenses are exceeding revenues.”

Taylor recommended that the council change many of the rules that tell people how and when they can use the Civic Center.

One rule, for example, bans weekly meetings at the center. “One of the things I would take a look at is removing that,” Taylor said. “That will enable us to look at developing some partnerships, especially during non-peak times, whether it be with event planners or promoters or any type of organizations that we could draw consistent income from.”

Taylor would also ease the rule that requires any event with alcohol to employ an off-duty sheriff’s deputy at $30 an hour. “Sometimes you have rentals where you’re just basically having a champagne toast and the threat of a problem is very minimal,” he said. “To require security for six to eight hours when really they’re having maybe one drink … that could be kind of cost-prohibitive at $30 an hour.”

Taylor recommended giving him the discretion to decide when to require security at events with alcohol.

He also recommended that the Civic Center be available 365 days a year. “Right now, it’s closed on virtually any significant holiday — Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.,” he said.

But those are also holidays when families tend to gather in large numbers, Taylor said. “Somebody wants to have a family reunion but their home’s not big enough to accommodate that, that’s a prime time to rent it,” he said.

Taylor acknowledged that a venue open 365 days a year could place heavy demands on town staffing. “If that’s a concern, I think we could certainly look at some events that may not be staffed,” he said. “I’ve worked in places where people have rented buildings and it’s not staffed.”

“It’s not foolproof,” Taylor added. “I did have occasions where somebody left it a mess, but I would say 95% of the time, that did not happen.”

Taylor also recommended extending the center’s hours. “The center does close at midnight,” he said. “You may want to look at extending those hours a little bit to maybe 1 or 2, to just see what happens. You can always go back and change it if something becomes a problem.”

In a memo to the council, Taylor suggested other changes, including ending the rule that says no group may book the Civic Center more than three times in six months. “This may be a problem that doesn’t exist,” Taylor wrote. “There could be a benefit to having a consistent event planner make reservations for multiple rentals.”

He also recommended not charging double on New Year’s Eve, July 3-5, Labor Day and Memorial Day.

The council largely agreed with Taylor’s recommendations but wasn’t sold on extending center hours past midnight.

“Midnight, that sounds reasonable to me,” Councilwoman Amy Whitley said. “I’m not sure about 1 and 2.”

“I do suggest that we do look at that angle very carefully,” Mayor Byron McAllister added.

As a compromise, Taylor suggested that maybe events could end at midnight but cleanup could extend to 1 or 2 a.m.

McAllister told the council to be ready to vote on Taylor’s recommendations in February.

ELECTION DAY IS TOMORROW!

Tomorrow, November 2nd, is municipal election day. If you have not already done early voting, I am asking you to go to the polls tomorrow and cast your vote for me for Town Council. The only polling center in Selma this year will be at Harrison Gym at 601 West Noble Street.

If you have not already done so, search this website for videos, position statements, two different candidate forums posted online, and links to past writings that will tell you more about me and where I am coming from.

Considering that we are going to be replacing 3/4 of the Council this year overall, this could be one of the most important elections ever. Municipal elections usually have a light turnout, so you have a real opportunity to make a difference with your vote. Please go to the polls on Tuesday!

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 2: Here are 10 tips for a smooth voting  experience | WLOS

Don’t let government stand in the way

In Downtown Selma this evening, a local church put on a festival and out reach event. It was totally planned, funded, and executed by a private group. There was some discussion by the Town Council about whether or not to allow the event. 20% of the Council was opposed to allowing the event.

There was a huge turnout to experience games, candy, inflatables, food trucks, music, and a lot of fun.

As a town, we should be welcoming events like this and cooperating with private groups. Quite honestly, they put on a bigger and better festival than the town does with events like Railroad Days. we need to let events like happen, not allowing local government to stand in the way.

Emergency services in action as I am posting this

This was right down the street from my house. We watched all the fire trucks arrive. They are still on scene. This is why I have been saying that public safety is a priority and vehemently disagreed with the efforts of prior town managers and Council members to defund police and fire departments.
https://jocoreport.com/fire-damages-selma-home-2/

Just today and tomorrow left for early voting!

Today and tomorrow are the last two days you can do early voting before the municipal election on Tuesday. You can vote until 5 PM today and from 8 AM to 3 PM tomorrow at the JoCo Board of Elections at 205 S. Second St. in Smithfield. The municipal election on Nov. 2 polling center for all of Selma will be at the Harrison Gym on Noble St. in Selma. I hope to see you at the poles. Please vote for the candidate of your choice. Hopefully, that will be me. I look forward to serving YOU.

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