Decatur council approves Monday as Juneteenth holiday

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Jun. 17—The Decatur City Council approved Monday as a city holiday in honor of the Juneteenth celebration this morning in a called meeting.

All city offices would be closed for the holiday. The City Council also moved the scheduled meeting to Tuesday. The work session starts at 9:30 a.m. with the meeting to follow at 10 in the council chambers of Decatur City Hall.

There will be no changes to Decatur's recycling or garbage collection. The Morgan County Regional Landfill will maintain its normal operating hours for Monday.

Chief Finance Officer Kyle Demeester said the financial impact of the additional holiday is equivalent to what the city spends on a typical holiday for employees, not including overtime.

For example, Demeester said Memorial Day cost $183,000, including benefits. Overtime is also not included in this expense.

A combination of the words "June" and "nineteenth," Juneteenth recognizes the day in 1865 when 250,000 slaves in Texas learned of their freedom — two-and-a-half years after the Emancipation Proclamation became law.

Last year, President Joe Biden signed legislation making Juneteenth a federal holiday, recognizing the end of slavery. Gov. Kay Ivey recently issued an executive order setting Monday as a Juneteenth holiday for state workers this year in Alabama. State offices will be closed Monday for the holiday.

Council President Jacob Ladner said the council has discussed following the state's lead on whether or not Juneteenth becomes an annual holiday for the city.

bayne.hughes@decaturdaily.com or 256-340-2432. Twitter @DD_BayneHughes.