Taxpayers foot thousands for Gov. Ivey inaugural celebration on Alabama coast
GULF SHORES, Ala. (WPMI) -- 20,000 dollars worth of tax payer dollars was given by the City of Orange Beach and Gulf Shores for Governor Kay Ivey's inaugural celebration.
"These are Alabama beaches. There's not a lot that we cant do in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores that we don't need the state on board to work with us or give us permission," says Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon.
Mayor Kennon says the Gulf Coast has to work harder to get federal money for roads and beaches and it's vital to show the governor appreciation.
"My goodness that's cheap I would spend a $100,000 with this contact with the governor and like I said, we need it. We got to have her to get this done," Mayor Kennon said.
Mobile resident, Less Bennett says, "If Orange Beach and Gulf Shores are visible then it's easier to make a point that your beaches, roads or if you have problems with turtles whatever it is then to start from scratch."
Some weren't happy about their cash going towards the governor's inaugural committee.
"Taxpayer money? No, I don't agree with that. Now, if the tourism bureau wants to pay for it, they can knock themselves out," Dave Johnson said.
For Secretary of State John Merrill, forking out $10,000 is a no brainer.
"Look sometimes you have to invest your tax payer dollars to get an additional return and benefit for all the people of the state, because a little bit of an investment will go a long way and that's what we are going to see in the future," he said.
Merrill says both cities will quickly get their money back in revenue and they'll continue to do all they can to keep our beaches and roads accessible.
"The Gulf Coast provides more tax dollars for the people of Alabama more than any other region in Alabama, so we have to make sure that we support all municipalities and the communities down here as they continue to make sure that
Alabama is becoming all that it possibly can be," said Merrill.
"You are going to get those dollars back I have already talked to people tonight saying we didn't know this place was here and I've already cancelled hotels in other places and I going to bring groups here," says Chairman of Alabama Republican Party Terry Lathan.
Governor Ivey says she is grateful for this opportunity and can't wait to continue to help the Gulf Coast.
"I look forward to working with you so that we can make our great state even more prosperous," she said.