Status of City Finances and Proposals to Deal with Revenue Losses: There are a lot of rumors and premature statements going around which need to be addressed. First, folks should know that the City is experiencing huge revenue losses due to the State and Federal ordered closures. This is not something the City did, rather its something that was imposed upon us. For example, the City lost over $900,000 in sales tax revenue last month and will continue to have huge losses going forward until we are back open for some period of time. Fortunately, Leeds is in much better financial shape than the majority of cities our size, some of which are living month to month. Even so, we cannot sustain these large losses indefinitely without taking some type of action. Our legal department was tasked with coming up with options for the Council to consider which would address the worst case scenario we might envision. The proposed resolution that was posted is what they came up with. Folks should understand that this is not a decision and is only a proposal from our legal department for the Council to discuss at our next meeting. It has not even been discussed by the whole Council, much less voted on. The City will explore ALL alternatives in addition to this proposal in trying to come up with a way to deal with this crisis. Naturally, the Council will attempt to address the problem in the manner which is least painful to our employees, but it must be addressed.
One item that keeps coming up is the acquisition of the Alabama Power Bldg. Some people are saying that we can’t use that much space and shouldn’t have spent City money on that property. In fact, acquiring that property was a big win for the City. First, the building wasn’t bought from City general funds. It was bought from Alabama Trust Fund money and court money that could only be spent for that type of project. The building included all the property in the back and was appraised for $2.8 million. The City got it for about a third of that cost. The City will utilize all the space that was occupied by Alabama Power, but the building also included the space for the old McClendon Eye Clinic which Alabama Power was not using. That space has been sold to the Leeds Water Works Board who will move their administrative offices downtown to make a convenient location for folks to pay their water bill and get their service connected and disconnected. That sale reduced the building cost by $150,000 and will be a help to citizens who will now have a downtown place to do their water business.
So, please hold off on judgement until the posted resolution is brought before the Council and a plan is actually agreed upon. As has often been said, we are all Leeds people and are in this together. Rest assured, the Council will do the best possible thing within our means to get us through this unprecedented crisis with the least hurt to our people. ~Mayor David Miller