An estimated 82 protestors from the Small Business Coalition, that opposes the state’s “safer-at-home” restrictions, marched from Montgomery’s Crampton Bowl, to the Statehouse and on to the front steps of the Alabama Capitol Building on Tuesday.
The protestors carried flags and signs while urging Gov. Kay Ivey to lift the restrictions placed on the economy to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Former State Sen. Paul Sanford, R-Huntsville, organized the group called the Alabama Small Business Coalition and the small rally.
“We just want the Governor to know that there is a lot of business owners are hurting. They want to get back to work,” Sanford said. “The best thing you can do for small businesses is an opportunity to reopen. They are not asking for handouts. They are asking for the opportunity to do what they do best, and that is their own operations.”
“We have a lot of hurting families in Alabama,” the conservative Eagle Forum’s Becky Gerritson said.
The rally was joined by State Rep. Will Dismukes, R-Prattville, who has been a vocal proponent of immediately lifting restrictions.
“It is time to put the working men and women in Alabama back to work,” Dismukes said. “I own a commercial flooring company. Even though we are essential, our contracts dried up and for about six, seven, eight weeks, we have been doing absolutely nothing. I am also the pastor of a small church. We have about sixty people average in attendance each week. Our Church is really struggling.”
“I don’t know why we are continually being oppressed, and we have so much governmental overreach,” Dismukes said. “I fully believe that today is the day that we go back to work.”
“This is kind of an organic thing,” Sanford said. “This is really not my doing. This is kind of a group effort of people who are really hurting and just want to go back to work.”
Many of the protesters were longtime veterans of the Tea Party movement, but similar views are being expressed even in the highest corridors of power in Montgomery.
The Alabama Political Reporter asked Senator Greg Albritton, R-Atmore, if we were in at the start of a global recession, and if we should pass a budget with a 5 percent proration across the board to deal with what is likely an extended economic downturn.
“That is not what is happening,” Albritton said. “Draconian steps” were taken to deal with the coronavirus situation, he said. “The economy will snap back. What we need now is to get people back to working.”
Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, told APR that salons and barbershops could be able to reopen by May 15.
Marsh said that he is a member of the governor’s COVID-19 task force, and he believed that they will be able to reopen, but it is ultimately the governor’s decision.
On March 12, President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency due to the rising number of COVID-19 infections spreading across the country.
Governors across the country began issuing orders to shut down the economy. Ivey lifted a shelter in place order at the end of April, but the state is still under “safer-at-home” orders.
Barbershops, salons, massage parlors, sporting facilities, gyms, schools, concert halls, movie theaters, night clubs, churches and camps remain closed across the state until further notice and restaurants have been forced to close their dining rooms.
Unemployment has soared to levels not seen in this country since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Ivey has said that her decisions on when to reopen the economy “will be data-driven, not date-driven.”
Opponents to a rapid reopening of the economy argue that it will only expose more people to the coronavirus.
As of press time, 8,437 Alabamians have been diagnosed with COVID-19. 1,121 Alabamians have been hospitalized. Nationwide, 72,287 Americans have died from COVID-19.
Governor awards nearly $19.4 million in block grants for Alabama communities
The CDBG funds will be used to repair dangerous roads, provide safe water, build community and senior centers, improve sewer systems and more.
More than 60 Alabama cities and counties will soon see improvements in their communities thanks to almost $19.4 million in Community Development Block Grants awarded by Gov. Kay Ivey.
“Community Development Block Grants help raise the living standards for thousands of Alabamians who may have struggled with dangerous roads, sewage backed up in their homes or find it difficult to wash clothes because of inadequate water pressure,” Ivey said. “I am pleased to award these grants and I must commend those local elected officials who recognized those struggles and responded to address needs in their communities.”
Grants are awarded on competitive basis in several categories including small city, large city, county, community enhancement, Black Belt and planning. Some cities received planning grants in addition to other competitive grants.
In most instances, awarded governments are required to allocate some local funds to projects as a match for the grants.
The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is administering the grants from funds made available by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“Many local governments, particularly this year with the COVID-19 pandemic, often struggle for funds to provide basic services for residents,” ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell said. “ADECA is pleased to join Gov. Ivey in awarding these funds from the CDBG program, which enables governments to accomplish worthwhile projects to make their communities better places to live.”
Grants awarded and projects (grouped by geographical region) include:
- Ardmore– $350,000 to replace sewer lines and ensure safe disposal of sewage.
- Colbert County – $182,876 to raise the roadbed and improve drainage to eliminate pavement flooding on Gnat Pond Road, Cassie Davis Street and Marthaler Lane.
- Courtland– $350,000 to replace aging water lines and provide safe drinking water to residents.
- Fort Payne– $450,000 to demolish and clear the abandoned Fort Payne General Hospital complex.
- Glencoe– $450,000 to replace sewer lines on East Air Depot Road, Taylor Road and Lonesome Bend Road.
- Haleyville– $450,000 to upgrade sewer, water and streets in several areas of the city.
- Holly Pond– $250,000 to construct a new senior citizen center to help meet the needs of the growing program.
- Limestone County – $301,000 to provide pavement and drainage improvements on Chapman Hollow Road south of the town of Lester. The project is designed to alleviate flooding.
- Morgan County– $250,000 to upgrade and add an addition to the Falk Senior Center.
- North Courtland– $347,300 to improve drainage along Davis Street and other parts of the town.
- Red Bay– $445,000 to improve sewer lines in the southeast part of the city.
- Sheffield– $210,000 to demolish and clear multiple dilapidated residential and commercial structures throughout the city.
- Tuscumbia– $365,000 to raze and clear 23 dilapidated structures located throughout the city.
- Vina – $348,650 to install a new boost pump at a water storage tank to improve water flow and pressure.
- Winfield– $450,000 to improve drainage and upgrade streets to alleviate flooding along Regal Street.
North Central Alabama
- Blountsville– $250,000 to repair and resurface parts of College Street, Chestnut Street, Church Street and Ratliff Street.
- Chilton County– $350,000 to pave more than four miles of county roads including County Roads 127, 128 and 201
- Cleburne County – $350,000 to extend public water services to 32 households along portions of County Roads 49, 689, 114 and 447.
- Columbiana– $450,000 to improve the city’s main sewer line to prevent sewage backup and related problems.
- Detroit– $350,000 to install new water lines and add fire hydrants to benefit more than 100 residents.
- Talladega (city)- $250,000 to demolish and clear dilapidated structures at several locations throughout the city.
- Woodland– $350,000 to replace water lines at several locations throughout the town to improve water quality and flow.
South Central Alabama
- Boligee – $350,000 to improve the town’s sewer lines and manhole covers to ensure no infiltration into the lines from rain and other sources.
- Brantley– $350,000 to rehabilitate or replace sewer lines and other components of its sewer system.
- Brantley– $32,000 for a planning grant to help develop a land-use plan, subdivision regulations and zoning ordinances.
- Demopolis– $450,000 to resurface portions of nine streets to include South Glover Street, McGee Street, Hilltop Circle, East Capitol Street, East Lyon Street, North Chestnut Avenue, North Cherry Avenue, North Ash Street, and North Front Avenue.
- Franklin– $32,000 for a planning grant designed to help the town develop future plans.
- Greene County -$350,000 to improve 4.5 miles of roads including Basketball Lane, Sandy Way, Smoke Lane, Brush Creek Circle, Curve Lane, Country Road Lane, Plum Lane, Star Lane and Jasmine Lane.
- Linden– $350,000 to resurface and improve drainage on Easley Street, Adams Drive, Ford Street, Brandon Avenue, Barkley Street, Lucas Street, Gardner Street and Louisville Avenue/Pool Street.
- Livingston– $450,000 to replace sewer lines in the north-central part of the city.
- Pine Hill– $350,000 to rehabilitate two sewer system lift stations.
- Phenix City– $250,000 to fund a city-wide cleanup of multiple dilapidated structures.
- Selma– $450,000 to improve drainage along LL Anderson Avenue, Arsenal Place, Alabama Avenue and Mechanic Street, and Highland Avenue.
- Selma– $40,000 for a planning grant to help the city develop a strategy to deal with dilapidated structures, housing and economic development.
- Sumter County– $250,000 to renovate the Sumter County E911 Call Center to streamline emergency operations.
- Union Springs – $450,000 to improve water, sewer and drainage along Bloomfield Street, April Street and Tye Avenue.
- Uniontown– $250,000 to demolish and clear several dilapidated buildings in the town.
- York– $350,000 to upgrade sewer lines and rehabilitate sewer mains in the Grant City community.
- Ariton – $250,000 to resurface and improve drainage along Dillard Street, Zumstein Avenue, Williams Street, Barnes Street and Claybank Street.
- Ariton– $30,000 for a planning grant to help the town develop long-range plans and goals.
- Crenshaw County– $350,000 to repave Helicon Cross Road and Rising Star Road north of Petrey.
- Cottonwood– $350,000 to replace old and damaged sewer lines and a failing lift station.
- Daleville – $292,500 to replace water lines along Culpepper Street, Wells Avenue, Ennis Street and Holman Street.
- Dozier– $250,000 to improve water pressure and improve fire protection capability in an area along Main Street.
- Eufaula– $450,000 to implement the fourth phase of its housing rehabilitation program. The program will be in the Edgewood subdivision area.
- Hartford– $350,000 to replace sewer lines and components in the vicinity of Third Avenue.
- Headland- $450,000 to rehabilitate up to 30 substandard houses in the central and north part of the city.
- Florala– $350,000 to continue to rehabilitate old and damaged sewer lines in a project that has been ongoing with CDBG funds since 2005.
- New Brockton– $314,000 to renovate and upgrade three sewer pump stations to improve sewage collection.
- Ozark– $250,000 to resurface at least a portion of nine streets including Brown Drive, Lowery Road, Julian Street, Wilson Avenue, Hall Drive, McDonald Avenue, Woodview Avenue, Brookview Drive and Parkview Drive.
- Pike County – $350,000 to resurface County Road 7749 (McLure Town Road), northeast of Troy and pave County Road 2256 south of Troy.
- Troy– $250,000 to renovate a portion of the historic Academy Street School and convert it to a community and cultural arts center.
- Beatrice– $350,000 to replace deteriorating water lines and add fire hydrants.
- Conecuh County – $350,000 to pave sections of 26 roads throughout the county.
- East Brewton– $337,000 to rehabilitate sewer lines and pumping station in the southeast part of the city.
- Elberta– $350,000 to improve drainage along Baldwin County Road 83 (Main Street) to alleviate flooding.
- Escambia County – $350,000 to replace and extend water lines and install fire hydrants in the Ridge Road community.
- Frisco City– $250,000 to resurface at least part of several streets including Harvestview Drive, Martin Luther King Jr. Street, School Street, Wiggins Avenue, and Wild Fork Road.
- Fulton– $350,000 to pave at least sections of Main Street, Eighth Street, First Street and Green Acres Road.
- Jackson– $208,000 to improve drainage on Cemetery Road including adding curbs and gutters.
- Lisman– $350,000 to resurface parts of Commerce Street, Thomas Drive, Kinnon Heights/Circle, Broad Street, Tower Street, Coleman Circle and West Second Avenue.
Governor announces $200 million “Revive Plus” small business grant program
Revive Plus is the second wave of funding for organizations with 50 or fewer employees and will award grants of up to $20,000 for expenses.
Gov. Kay Ivey on Wednesday announced Revive Plus, a $200 million grant program to support small businesses, non-profits and faith-based organizations in Alabama that have been impacted by COVID-19. Revive Plus is the second wave of funding for these organizations with 50 or fewer employees and will award grants of up to $20,000 for expenses they have incurred due to operational interruptions caused by the pandemic and related business closures.
“As the state has rolled out over $1 billion of the CARES Act monies to the individuals and businesses affected by COVID-19, it became evident the group most overwhelmingly hurt during the pandemic were the small ‘mom and pop’ shops,” Ivey said. “A second round of assistance through Revive Plus will ensure that the small business owners who have borne the brunt of the downed economy can be made as whole as possible. As we head into the holiday season, my hope is that this will be welcome news for our businesses and help ease their burdens from what has been a very hard year.”
Entities may receive up to $20,000 to reimburse qualifying expenses if they have not received federal assistance for the corresponding item they are claiming with the state of Alabama. The Revive Plus grant is in addition to any state of Alabama Coronavirus Relief Fund grant previously received, including the Revive Alabama Small Business, Non-Profit, Faith-Based, and Health Care Provider grants. There is no set cap on the number of entities that may be awarded a Revive Plus Grant. Grants will be awarded to qualifying applicants on a first-come, first-served basis until the funds are exhausted.
“The Revive Plus program is much needed in our small business economy,” said Senate General Fund Chairman Greg Albritton, R-Atmore. “I commend Governor Ivey for taking this action, recapturing unspent dollars and using a proven program to bring economic relief to our small business owners.”
Alabama received approximately $1.9 billion of CARES Act funding to respond to and mitigate the coronavirus pandemic. Alabama Act 2020-199 initially designated up to $300 million of the Coronavirus Relief Fund for individuals, businesses, non-profit and faith-based organizations directly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. After the initial $100 million for small business that was reimbursed starting in July 2020, legislative leadership approved a second round of $200 million from allocations made to reimburse state government and from other grant programs that have ended with the full allocation unspent.
“This second round of funding for Alabama entities will provide much needed resources for our state’s economy,” said Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro. “I appreciate the governor and the Finance Department’s work to ensure we utilize these funds to the benefit of our citizens.”
Entities may access grant information and the grant application through the Coronavirus Relief Fund website. The application period for the Revive Plus Grant Program will open at noon, Nov. 23, 2020 and run through noon, Dec. 4, 2020.
“This is welcome news for small businesses, non-profits and faith-based organizations that are continuing to feel the adverse effects of the Covid-19 virus,” said House General Fund Chairman Steve Clouse, R-Ozark. “Time is of the essence and I urge all qualified entities to apply as soon as possible beginning Monday, November 23rd.”
A coalition of the Business Council of Alabama, the National Federation of Independent Business of Alabama (NFIB Alabama) and the Alabama Restaurant Association worked closely with the governor’s office to revisit the grant program after the initial round of Revive Alabama reached the $100 million cap.
“Businesses throughout the state are working diligently to keep their employees and customers safe, all while ensuring commerce throughout Alabama continues to move,” said Business Council of Alabama President and CEO Katie Britt. “Revive Plus will be essential in giving Alabama businesses access to the necessary and needed funding to keep their doors open and keep hard working Alabamians employed. Our broad coalition of businesses, associations and chambers commend Governor Ivey and her administration for putting these critical funds into the hands of businesses who need it most.”
Qualifying entities must have been in business March 1, 2020, are currently in business and have a valid W-9 to apply for a Revive Plus Grant.
Governor meets with VIP fourth grader
The discussion was described as “wide-ranging and productive.” The governor and McGriff covered everything from school to their love of dogs.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey invited a special guest to meet with her in the governor’s office on Friday: fourth grade student Cate McGriff, known for her impeccable impersonation of the governor.
The discussion was described as “wide-ranging and productive.” The governor and McGriff covered everything from school to their love of dogs.
Ivey asked McGriff what her favorite subject in school is, the governor’s office said. McGriff replied that it was math. She also told the governor that she wanted to attend Auburn University just like Ivey did.
Ivey asked Cate what she wanted to be when she grows up after she attends Auburn. McGriff said that she wants to be an engineer.
Ivey advised her to keep working hard on her math.
Ivey shared that when she was a young intern for Gov. Lurleen Wallace, the only other woman to serve as governor in Alabama history, she had the opportunity to sit behind the governor’s desk. Ivey then asked Cate if she wanted to sit behind the desk, and they recreated the governor’s own photo behind Gov. Lurleen Wallace’s desk.
Cate and Ivey both were wearing their red “power suits” and Auburn face masks.
McGriff was joined by her parents and two siblings, Claire and Sam.
The McGriff family frequently tune in to the governor’s regular COVID press conferences. Cate also was given the chance to stand behind the lectern in the Old House Chamber.
Governors frequently meet with very important people including presidents, CEOs, congressmen, senators, scientists, university presidents, state legislators, county commissioners, economic developers and fourth graders.
Governor announces auto supplier IAC plans Alabama expansion
IAC is committing $34.3 million in new capital investment to expand its new manufacturing facility located in Tuscaloosa County.
Gov. Kay Ivey announced Monday that International Automotive Components Group North America Inc. plans to invest over $55.9 million in expansion projects that will create 182 jobs at two Alabama facilities.
“International Automotive Components is a leading global auto supplier, and I am pleased that this world-class company is growing significantly in Alabama and creating good jobs in Cottondale and Anniston,” Ivey said. “IAC’s growth plans show that Alabama’s dynamic auto industry continues to expand despite today’s challenging environment.”
Nick Skwiat is the executive vice president and president of IAC North America.
“Alabama was the logical choice due to its skilled workforce and proximity to the customer,” Skwiat said. “We are excited to see the continued growth of the automotive industry in Alabama and we plan to grow right along with it. We thank the Governor and Secretary Canfield for their leadership in this sector.”
IAC is committing $34.3 million in new capital investment to expand its new manufacturing facility located in Tuscaloosa County. This facility will produce door panels and overhead systems for original equipment manufacturers. That project will create 119 jobs at the production site in Cottondale.
IAC also plans to invest $21.6 million at its manufacturing facility located in the former Fort McClellan in Anniston. That East Alabama project will create another 63 jobs.
This project builds on a milestone 2014 expansion that doubled the size of the Calhoun County facility. There IAC manufactures automotive interior components and systems. Key components produced at the Anniston plant include door panels, trim systems and instrument panels for original equipment manufacturers.
IAC Group is a leading global supplier of innovative and sustainable instrument panels, consoles, door panels, overhead systems, bumper fascias and exterior ornamentation for original equipment manufacturers.
IAC is headquartered in Luxembourg and has more than 18,000 employees at 67 locations in 17 countries. The company operates manufacturing facilities in eight U.S. states.
“With operations around the globe, IAC is the kind of high-performance company that we want in Alabama’s auto supply chain to help fuel sustainable growth,” said Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield. “We look forward to working with IAC and facilitating its future growth in this strategic industrial sector.”
Danielle Winningham is the executive director of the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority.
“International Automotive Components is a valued part of Tuscaloosa County’s automotive sector,” Winningham said. “We are grateful for IAC’s investment in our community and the career opportunities available to our area workforce as a result of their investment.”
“The City of Anniston is excited that IAC has made the decision to expand here. I have enjoyed working with the leadership at IAC, the Calhoun County EDC, and the state of Alabama to get this project finalized,” said Anniston Mayor Jack Draper. “This is even further evidence that Anniston is indeed open for business.”
Only Michigan has more automobile manufacturing jobs than the state of Alabama. Honda, Mercedes, Hyundai, Polaris, Toyota and soon Mazda all have major automobile assembly plants in the state of Alabama.