REALITY CHECK: Orange Beach, Gulf Shores partially fund Ivey's inaugural beach bash
BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WPMI) —
It wasn't 4th of July.
Satuday's fireworks at the beach celebrated Gov. Kay Ivey's inauguration.
And you helped pay for the party, Gulf Shores and Orange Beach each ponying up $10,000 tax dollars.
Orange Beach mayor Tony Kennon says in Alabama, you've got to pay to play.
Kennon says it's vital to show the governor appreciation for coastal Alabama to get attention for much needed infrastructure projects.
"$10,000 and we got the governor here for the entire night. The community gets to come in and meet her. They get to hob-nob and rub elbows. My goodness, that's cheap. I would spend $100,000 with this contact with the governor," said Kennon.
The money went directly to Governor Ivey's inaugural committee, which Alabama's Attorney General gave the green light to in 2003.
Some say lawful doesn't make it right.
"Taxpayer money? No, I don't agree with that. Now, if the tourism bureau wants to pay for it, they can knock themselves out," said Dave Johnson, a resident of Orange Beach.
Secretary of State John Merrill says forking out $20,000 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," said Merrill. "Because a little bit of an investment will go a long way and that's what we are going to see in the future."
"You are going to get those dollars back," said Terry Lathan, Chairman of the Alabama Republican Party.
A beach bash with the promise of a return on your investment...
"I look forward to working with you so that we can make our great state even more prosperous," said Governor Ivey at the bash.