Declining Revenue, Breaking Leighton

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LEIGHTON, Ala. (WHNT) - A once bustling cotton town in eastern Colbert County, Leighton has now fallen on hard financial times and leaders say they are barely able to stay afloat.

Signs of yester-year have shifted in downtown Leighton, to what can now be seen as a sign of the times.

All the retailers that once filled the shops have packed up and moved on.

Mayor C.S. Elkins remembers a happier time, “There wasn't a store that was closed here in town.  All of them were open.  It brought revenue in, and we didn't have this to worry about then."

With 3 businesses left operating, the town has become cash strapped.

Between 2 bank accounts, the town has $1,500 dollars.

"We don't have anything in the amount of revenue that we need to come in, to pay what debts we have," explained Mayor Elkins

In less than a week, a new mayor and town council will take the reins.

According to the outgoing mayor, tough decisions will need to be made, including if they can afford to keep full time city employees on the payroll.    

"It hasn't happened all at once, it's happened over time.” said Elkins. “So it's just going to take time for us to get it back."

And Elkins hopes that the new mayor and council will give the town just the shot in the arm that they need to get people walking through downtown again.

Town leaders say they are actively recruiting new businesses to Leighton in an effort to improve the tax base.

They say that's the only thing that can save the town.