Updated: Tuesday, 21 Sep 2010, 10:04 AM CDT
Published : Monday, 20 Sep 2010, 6:32 PM CDT
ORANGE BEACH, Alabama (WALA) - The oil spill cost local communities millions of dollars in sales tax revenue. So how can they pay their bills?
When oil started leaking into the Gulf in April, FOX10 News interviewed Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon. At the time, Kennon was trying to decide whether to turn tourists away or encourage them to visit the beach.
"If you tell them not to come and it doesn't happen, then you are Chicken Little. If you don't tell them to come and something happens, it reminds me of that scene in Jaws where the mayor is telling them how beautiful the beaches is, but doesn't tell them about the shark in the water," Kennon said in April.
The oil did make it to the beach and there was a sharp decline in the usual summer tourists. It cost the city $3.6 million in loss tax revenue. Meanwhile, BP has not paid any of that.
"This is probably the worst case scenario any resort town could ever see. Then compound that with the inability to get a major multinational corporation to do what it promised, makes it even worse," said Kennon on Monday.
Kennon said the 2011 season does look promising, but business owners are trying to make it through the off-season. That will be the biggest test of how many will be able to survive.
"I think people want to come to the beach. I think they feel safe coming to our beach and getting into our water now. We still have work to do on the beach and hopefully we can get that done by January 1," said Kennon.
The mayor said he is happy the well is dead, but its damaging affects on beach tourism are still alive. Kennon added he put in another phone call claims adjusters on Monday, but said they won't return his messages.