Mayors from Alabama’s biggest cities urge Congress for financial support due to COVID-19
Birmingham, Ala. — Mayors of the ten largest cities in Alabama released a joint statement urging the federal government to pass direct financial support for cities and counties. The group, known as the Big 10 Mayors Association, joined the Alabama League of Municipalities and the Association of County Commissions in calling for local relief.
“We are not making this request as Democrats or Republicans, red cities or blue cities…,” the statement said, noting the ten metropolitan areas make up 75 percent of the state’s residents and 80 percent of the state’s GDP. The Mayors of Auburn, Birmingham, Decatur, Dothan, Hoover, Huntsville, Madison, Mobile, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa signed the letter that was sent to Alabama’s two U.S. senators and seven U.S. representatives.
Cities have lost millions of dollars in revenue due to shutdown orders and businesses shuttering during the COVID-19 pandemic. The City of Birmingham reported $17 million in lost revenue, and expects more than $60 million revenue loss in 2021. As a result, city services such as police, first responders and EMTs could be affected by the drastic loss of revenue.
“Citizens expect and deserve these basic city services which are being threatened by the loss of revenue due to the pandemic,” said Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin in a separate statement. “Our innovative and creative entrepreneurs, groundbreaking educational institutions, amazing restaurants and bars and community-minded corporate citizens have all suffered, and as a result, so has [Birmingham’s] revenues.”
In May, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a nearly $1 trillion aid package to cities and counties as part of the HEROES Act. That bill has not gained any traction in the GOP-led Senate, where Democrats successfully filibustered a scaled down aid package bill last week that did not include any direct funding to cities and counties. POLITICO reported that the vote in the Senate was likely the “last chance for congressional leaders and the White House to reach a compromise on the stimulus bill before the election.” Alabama Senator Richard Shelby acknowledged the unlikelihood in passing more aid with the backdrop of a contentious election just two months away saying that it “looks that way.”
Woodfin ended his statement with a plea, saying that the Association is “hopeful [Congress] will do everything in their power to support the folks we were all elected to serve.”