ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) – The mayors of both Athens and Decatur tell us they’re watching the sequestration issue very closely. Both men know all too well their respective cities will feel the ripple effects of the cuts. Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks fears his city will suffer the same economic downturn as the Rocket City. While Decatur Mayor Don Kyle says they’re already making plans to survey the city’s top revenue producers to see where cuts in his city budget will have to be made.
“Any of these military cuts has a direct impact on so many of our residents here in the City of Athens and in Limestone County. It’s a concern of ours,” Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks says. It’s a concern because Athens has long considered itself a bedroom community of Huntsville, and many Limestone County residents clock in on the arsenal every day. Now Athens is bracing for a reduction in sales tax revenue.
“We look at our revenue streams every week. I hope it doesn’t have the major impact that is projected for our community but there’s some nervous people right now,” Marks tells WHNT News 19.
Decatur Mayor Don Kyle was traveling on city business Monday. When we reached him, his initial response was “It’s going to be a mess.” He says in Decatur, quoting here, “Sales tax revenues amount to about half of our general fund budget, so we’ve got to be conscious of where we stand at all times. We’ll be watching our top ten sales tax revenue producers each month and we’ll adjust our projections and our spending accordingly.”
Both mayors say it’s a helpless feeling watching this coming and unable to do anything to head it off.