COVID-19 puts Spanish Fort projects on hold


SPANISH FORT – The city of Spanish Fort will put about $3 million in municipal projects on hold while officials wait to see how the COVID 19 outbreak will affect finances.

Mayor Mike McMillan said the effect on businesses will reduce city sales tax collections.

“Certainly, in the city, there are some concerns about revenues, expenses, all those things that go with it,” McMillan said at the April 6 council meeting. “I got our staff to go over items that we had actually budgeted for this year, look at things as far as projects are concerned, things that we could put on hold, things that are so far down the pipeline that we couldn’t stop them.”

Projects put on hold include drainage improvements and street repairs, McMillan said.

“Resurfacing projects within the city will be put on hold,” he said. “That certainly will be up to the top of the list when we get a new feel about where our revenues are going to hold.”

One of the biggest single projects on the list will be the girls’ field house at Spanish Fort High School.

“While we have gone to bid and received the bid, the low bid was $796,000,” McMillan said. “We have not gone to contract. We have not entered into an agreement with the school board. I’ve talked to the school board and I’ve talked to the contractor who was the low bidder. I talked to the engineer and we’re going to put that on hold until we get a better feel about where we’re going with that.”

McMillan said the city has enough surplus funds to continue operations for at least a year and a half.

Councilman Curt Smith said Spanish Fort is in a good financial position because the mayor and officials have been careful about finances.

“I know that this council under your leadership has been very frugal,” he told McMillan. “We’ve always made a point to predict our expenses high and our revenues low when we budget each year, so we’ve accumulated some reserves.”