Mayor: Prichard left out on BP oil funds
PRICHARD , Ala. (WPMI) —
Disappointed and neglected; these are the feelings Prichard Mayor Jimmie Gardner’s voicing loud and clear after learning his city has been skipped for recovery funding following the big BP oil payout.
NBC 15 News brought you this story first Sunday night in an exclusive sit-down with the Mayor. Now we're digging deeper into his frustrations and trying to get some answers.
There was a $315 million award spread within Mobile and Baldwin counties, but not one cent for Prichard.
"The city that really needs the money is not getting it," Mayor Gardner said.
Prichard's mayor Jimmie Gardner is having trouble understanding why not his city when there's more than $100 million being put into recovery projects across his county.
"I understand that the city of Mobile is the hub of this area," Mayor Gardner said, adding, "I support that, but if we don't start funding these other cities who may not have the budget that a city like Mobile may have, you're just a part of a problem in allowing these cities to deteriorate. Help them do better."
Mayor Gardner says the brunt of the BP oil spill was felt beyond the waterfront areas in our region. He told NBC 15 people who worked on the recovery or were otherwise impacted would come to Prichard and spend their money in the city. There's also fishermen and women from Prichard who were impacted by the spill.
Furthermore, Garner made the point that there are cities just like Prichard, not directly on the water, who were awarded money like Satsuma and Mount Vernon.
Gardner is speculating that part of the problem is the makeup of the council that decides where this money is going. He says the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council has mayors from Mobile, Dauphin Island, Fairhope, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach and Bayou La Batre. All of those cities were awarded millions but Prichard, which doesn't have a seat, got nothing.
"I don't think there's any board that will be put together that doesn't have direct responsibility to their own cities," Mayor Gardner said. "They won't have other city's best interest at hand, I just don't see that being the case."
Immediately after Mayor Gardner addressed the media, NBC 15 reached out to the head of the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council, but she was not in.
We then reached out the President of the Mobile County Commission and Mobile's Mayor Sandy Stimpson, who both sit on the council. Unfortunately, no one was available for comment Monday.
This story will be updated as we receive additional information and responses.