City of Clay faces layoffs and cutbacks with $7 million debt - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

City of Clay faces layoffs and cutbacks with $7 million debt

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The small Jefferson County city of Clay faces a mounting debt. $7 million to be exact. It faces layoffs and cutbacks to try to dig itself out of a financial hole.


The newly elected Mayor tells us all of that debt accumulated because the city has never had a budget. That's something its trying to correct, but in the meantime, this has local businesses concerned.

Brent Nelson opened his barber and beauty shop just 10 months ago.

"We offer everything from hot towel shaves to perms!" Nelson said.

Like many others, he's confused as to how the city got into so much debt and how that could impact his own finances.

"We're laying off city employees, times are bad and when times are bad the criminals get worse and that's what I worry about out here," Nelson said.

We met with the newly elected Mayor, Charles Webster. He told us getting the city out of debt was one of the main reasons he ran for office.

"We do want to get a handle on the spending and we want to figure out a way to retire debt and that's going to be my goal for four years," Webster said.

He told us over the past few years, with no budget, building a new ballpark, moving city hall, and cleaning up from last year's tornados put clay in a $7 million hole and tough cuts must be made.

"It's not something I was looking forward to but it was something that I knew coming in would probably need to be done," Webster said.

The city laid off the Senior Center director, a building inspector, and several others and even sent the park's splash pad back helping trim extra spending. The aim now is to approve a budget.

"We're trying to do the things we need to do to stay within our means and live within what money we bring in," Webster said.

A preliminary budget - and a plan for handling reserve funds will  be presented to the Clay City Council Thursday.



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