Tuscaloosa Mayor uses virtual town hall for COVID-19 update

Mayor Maddox holds virtual town hall

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox expressed concern about the number of COVID-19 cases in Tuscaloosa County rising, during a virtual town hall Friday. He cited stats from the Alabama Department of Public Health showing a third of the 2566 confirmed coronavirus cases in Tuscaloosa County since March still being active.

“My sense is, this is just my two cents, is that we’re going to see these numbers increase. And I think we’re going to continue to see the number of COVID cases increase across the city,” Maddox told the audience.

The Mayor also talked about how COVID-19 is affecting city personnel. He used a chart that showed 16 police officers and 26 fire fighters among other city employees who have missed work because they had been in contact with someone who had coronavirus. The city distributed more than 3000 face coverings to people this week. Maddox admitted some people won’t wear a mask in order to comply with Tuscaloosa’s mandatory face covering ordinance.

“Ultimately this is going to be something that citizens will be to choose, whether it’s to follow the law or not,” he continued.

The mayor explained how the virus crippled businesses, putting people out of work and slashed the city’s sales tax revenue. Nearly 34,000 people in Tuscaloosa County filed for unemployment. “There’s been a sense of normalcy in an abnormal situation. The deep impact of this really has been felt. But it’s about to begin,” he added.

Tuscaloosa city leaders will soon begin discussing next year’s budget. Maddox anticipates a budget shortfall that will run into the millions. He has already asked department heads to submit budgets 38 per cent less than previous years.

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