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Dothan mayor hopes more relief funds will come with fewer regulations

The slightly more than $3 million Dothan received last year proved to be a tremendous asset, but the money could be used only for certain things.
Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 7:12 PM CST
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -Dothan Mayor Mark Saliba is grateful for CARES money awarded to the city in 2020 and he will gladly take additional dollars this year. However, he also hopes regulations on how that money can be spent will be relaxed.

“I would say anytime federal government strings are attached it’s frustrating,” Saliba told WTVY on Thursday.

The slightly more than $3 million Dothan received last year proved to be a tremendous asset, but the money could be used only for certain things. Paperwork required to be reimbursed was so complicated some local governments chose not to participate in the CARES program.

Dothan used its money for several things but, mostly, to pay overtime costs. Firefighters, who also answer medical calls, received a significant portion. Saliba said that proved invaluable in the city’s effort to overcome obstacles and the need for increase manpower caused by COVID.

There could more funds coming from Washington after President-Elect Joe Biden takes office next week. Saliba hopes, if that happens, there will less stringent regulations on how that money can be spent.

Having faced a hurricane and pandemic since he took office in 2017, he would like to invest more money in disaster preparedness. While he believes Dothan has reacted well to crises, he also believes more can be done during these uncertain times.

“I think people want us to be prepared for emergency responses and I think we should continue to look at how we’re doing that.”

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