Florence declares local state of emergency

City council members unanimously voted to declare a local state of emergency.

Posted: Apr 8, 2020 8:00 AM

On Tuesday, Florence city council members unanimously voted to declare a local state of emergency. The cities of Huntsville and Madison declared local states of emergency three weeks ago.

Florence Mayor, Steve Holt, told WAAY31 the timing was right for the city to declare the local state of emergency. He said in the beginning they did not want to make a knee jerk reaction.

"This will now authorize us to apply for funding through the Stafford Act or the Care Act or maybe even the federal stimulus funds that might be coming down and that's the purpose for us doing it now we think the timing is right," said Holt in a video chat interview after the city council meeting.

Holt told WAAY31 this really applies to the city not individual businesses. He said by declaring a local state of emergency they can get federal funds to help the city deal with any financial loss because of the coronavirus.

"It could reimburse us for expenses anywhere from salary expenses to out of pocket expenses for any maintenance or loss of revenue or anything like that we might be able to replace," said Holt.

The local state of emergency also gives the city the right to enact a curfew, but Holt said the sheriff can already do that and they don't see benefits of a curfew because everything is basically closed by 10 pm.

Holt said because city council members can meet within 24 hours for a special meeting, even though he now has the authority to make decisions on contracts, they will still do that as a whole.

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