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ADECA work goes on

If the Legislature makes no more cuts to the budget for the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, very little will change in fiscal year 2003-2004.

That is the report Director John Harrison told Greenville Rotarians at their weekly Thursday lunch meeting at the YMCA.

Harrison is no stranger to the area, having had family here and also serving as mayor in Luverne from 1988 to 2003.

On Wednesday the legislative general fund budget committee cut $3.1 million from ADECA’s budget.

That is considerably less than Gov. Bob Riley’s proposed cut of $10 million.

Harrison said if $3.1 million is all they cut, ADECA will continue to function without problems.

&uot;We can do anything as long as they don’t cut anymore,&uot; Harrison said.

&uot;It is going to be nasty up there in Montgomery (Special Legislative Session) for the next three or four days.&uot;

He said Riley remains adamant that when the Legislature is in session, he wants ADECA nowhere nearby.

Harrison said the governor wants it that way.

&uot;He kept us away from the legislature,&uot; Harrison said.

&uot;He instructs us on funding and whatever battles he wins or loses, he will do it without ADECA.

That’s pretty good on his part.&uot;

He said Riley gave instructions that everything was to be cut, plain and simple.

He said pass through pork had to disappear.

Harrison also said ADECA now plays an important role in South Alabama industry, especially as more and more Hyundai related factories open.

&uot;At one point you could draw a line across Alabama and see where all the industry went,&uot; he said.

&uot;Now we are getting the opportunity to do something in South Alabama.&uot;

He said Mercedes opened the door for the automotive industry moving into the state and now the rewards North Alabama had, will be felt in the southern portion as well.

One program Harrison said ADECA is charged with involves the state’s motor pool.

He said an audit showed a major surplus of state vehicles, and recently 600 plus were sold.

Now, the governor wants a fleet management policy implemented and that will fall under ADECA’s control.

He said ADECA also delivers the CDBG grants, which has served Greenville, Georgiana and McKenzie.

Finally, Harrison said no more funding cuts means there will be no layoffs in his department.

He said the sad part about cutting staff is the fact that it is usually the young people, who are enthusiastic about doing great things for the state.