MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - At the water fountain in downtown Montgomery, county commission chairman Todd Strange is pleading for help.
"I'm Todd Strange," the commissioner says as he looks into the camera.
Fellow commissioner Elton Dean is doing the same along with state representative John Knight. The County Commission along with the City Council and the Chamber of Commerce spent $25,000 producing public service announcements encouraging Montgomery County residents to shop Montgomery first during the holiday season. The PSA's begin airing Friday on local TV stations. Strange refuses to call this a desperate attempt but concedes the county sure could use some help. Sales tax revenues are down 7 and a half percent in the city and nearly 6 percent in the county.
"I'm not encouraged the October number will be any better and over time that 7 and a half percent could turn out to be $10 million dollars. What the message really is to our citizens is let's think about Montgomery and let's shop Montgomery first. That will help us stay strong," said Strange.
But what if it doesn't work?
"We'll go back and try something else," said Commissioner Dean.
Anita Mays believes it will work. Mays works in Prattville but lives in Montgomery.
"I think it's a good idea and it's good to keep our dollars at home," Mays said.
The city of Montgomery took in $7.3 million in October, down more than a half-million dollars from last year.
Back at the camera there was no sense of panic but certainly a hope things will turn around in a hurry.
"At the same time we're sending a message to our retailers, a message of hope," Strange said.