Courtland Mayor Says Layoffs To Hit City Workers Due To Mill Closure

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COURTLAND, Ala.(WHNT)-Layoffs have begun at Lawrence County's largest employer, and local leaders are now warning it will lead to job losses in other sectors too.

Courtland Mayor Clarence Logsdon told WHNT News 19 that layoffs for city employees and other cost-cutting measures are now inevitable due to the closure of the nearby International Paper mill. Union officials said International Paper released 83 of its 1,100 workers at the Courtland site during the first round of layoffs last week, with the rest of the operation set to be closed by the end of March.

Mayor Logsdon said close to half of his town's $700,000 annual budget is tied to revenue from International Paper, and called the mill's shutdown a crippling blow.

"It's going to be devastating to the town," said Logsdon. "We're probably gonna have to lay some people off, it's gonna come to that...It's an impact all the way down the system. If you lose that [paper mill], you don't have no traffic. And no traffic, that interrupts whatever revenue coming through, and if you don't have revenue, you can't go."

Small business owners are also expected to feel the squeeze from a significant reduction in customer traffic, with some Courtland residents wondering if their town will simply disappear.

"It's going to tear us wide open," said Courtland resident Paul Cottingham. "I've got five in my family that works there, and they don't have anything else to look forward to...that's the only place we have that people can make a living at."

Officials said the resulting domino effect from International Paper's closure could impact up to 2,000 other jobs in the area. International Paper cited a significant decline in demand for paper-based products when announcing the plant's shutdown earlier this year.

17 comments

      • Wake Up

        JoeJo, the highest proportions of those living at or near the poverty line are minorities, women of all color, and people living in the South. Why do you feel that minorities, women, and people living in the South are less creative, productive and willing to take economic risks? Why is that group, as you put it, more likely to be mindless drones compared to white males and people living in other parts of the country?

    • Wake Up

      Bob, the USSR failed because they overspent on their military. We may be able to learn from their mistakes — maybe.

  • Joe

    All fun and games voting for democrats till it’s time to pay up
    we are now living in the Post Clinton era, just wait till the Post Obama era hits…
    keep sending jobs overseas
    maybe this town can get a bail out or go bankrupt like Detroit and SanJose

      • Wake Up

        PutPut, you need to remember that the whole North Alabama area was built off socialism. This area is a one company town, and that company is the government!

        The road improvements that the Huntsville mayor is so proud of — yep, more socialism. Your fire protection and police are also socialism. Should we get rid of social security? That is a socialistic program because people draw out a lot more social security than they pay in while working?

        One person’s socialism is another person’s economic stimulus. We are all socialists when it comes to the government programs we like!

  • Dan

    Maybe some of you should do your research on IP, “the area”
    North Courtland, Courtland & our local representatives Thanks!

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