Orange Beach mayor: BP a 'bully'

ORANGE BEACH, AL (WBRC) - Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon says he is fed up with helping BP.

Kennon, in an interview with FOX6 News Tuesday, said the oil company doesn't appreciate the help it has gotten from the coastal Alabama town and has fallen behind on paying its bills.

"They are bullies," Kennon said.

Monday, the City of Orange Beach removed its firefighters and emergency medical services from the BP staging area. Kennon said BP owes the city $270,000 in costs associated with keeping those emergency workers at the staging area all summer.

"We've been asking and begging them to pay," Kennon said. "The city is not in a position to subsize a billion-dollar company like BP."

Kennon said the costs of helping BP combined with the lost revenue as a result of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has put the city in a financial bind.

"We are stretched," Kennon said. "They (BP) owe us nearly $4 million in lost tax revenue. That's 20 percent of our budget."

Kennon said the city may have to dip into its natural disaster reserve fund to keep the city running into its next fiscal year, a move he says is not fair to the taxpayers who Kennon says are also suffering from a lack of help from BP.

"I can't find anyone down here they've 'made whole,'" Kennon said. "We were trying to be good neighbors, but they don't appreciate anything."

Kenneth Feinberg, the independent administrator charged with processing financial claims, is scheduled to be in Orange Beach this week. Kennon said Feinberg, in a phone conversation with him last week, apologized for the delays in getting claims processed.  Kennon said Feinberg, in a community town-hall meeting in Orange Beach several weeks ago, had promised payments to individuals within 48 hours and businesses within seven days.  Kennon said he has not found anyone who got their claims processed that fast.

"He was apologetic, humble, for not following through," Kennon said.

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