Tag: Fairfield

Fairfield Council Gives Mayor the Boot, but Ed May II Isn’t Backing Down

The long-running feud between Fairfield Mayor Ed May II and the City Council has reached a boiling point, as the council voted to remove May from office because he was continually absent from council meetings.

Claiming that state law required May’s ouster because he had missed meetings for more than 90 days, the council voted to remove May in January. During a special meeting Tuesday, Council President Eddie Penny was sworn in as May’s replacement.

It’s the latest battle in a war between May and the council that has lasted since shortly after May was elected to replace Kenneth Coachman in 2016. The battle began last year when the council voted to hire then-City Clerk Mary Roberson as a city manager — a position Fairfield has never filled before. The council then stripped May of many of his duties as mayor, including hiring and firing personnel, and gave those duties to Roberson. Read more.

Jefferson County Pitches in for Fairfield, Takes Over Maintenance of Major Roadways

The mayor and City Council of Fairfield agree on very little these days but the two sides were on one accord at the Jefferson County Commission meeting Thursday.

The commission approved a through road agreement with the financially challenged city in western Jefferson County, taking over maintenance of the city’s three major roadways – Valley Road, Aaron Aronov Drive and Rutledge Drive – at no cost to the city.

“These roads will be a tremendous impact on the city of Fairfield in terms of our economic development by repairing those roads and providing some good infrastructure for the city,” Council President Eddie J. Penny said. “It will improve the motivation and enthusiasm of the city. We’re deeply appreciative of the County Commission’s work.” Read more.

Jefferson County Commissioners Say They Won’t Help Fairfield Financially Without a Plan for the City’s Future

Jefferson County “kicked the can down the road” by helping Fairfield out of a difficult situation last year, but Commission President Jimmie Stephens said that won’t happen again without a comprehensive, sustainable plan for the distressed city.

In 2017, Jefferson County forgave some of Fairfield’s debt and gave that western-area city some working capital. Stephens said that wasn’t a real solution.

“What we did is we kicked the can down the road and here we are again,” he said. “I’m not willing as a commissioner to do that again without a comprehensive plan in place for their continued operation.”

Fairfield’s mayor and City Council members drafted a packet outlining the ways they hope the county can provide help, delivered to the commission Tuesday during its committee meeting. Mayor Ed May said the packet was a way to begin the dialogue for the future well-being of the city. Read more.

Fairfield Mayor and Council Come Together to Ask for Financial Help From Jefferson County

Jefferson County Commission members received packets from the mayor and council of Fairfield on Tuesday spelling out help that city is seeking from the county.

This isn’t the first time officials from the financially strapped city have talked with commissioners about helping them provide services to the public, particularly concerning public safety. Commissioners last month said they would consider helping the city, but only if the mayor and council members could resolve their differences and present the commission with a joint resolution outlining their request, which they have done.

“I think this is a good opportunity and example of regional cooperation that I think is a real solution not only for Fairfield but the other municipalities in Jefferson County, especially on the western corridor who are experiencing some of the same financial difficulties,” Mayor Ed May said. Read more.

With Its Finances Tight, Fairfield Seeks Help From Jefferson County to Protect Its Residents

Less than a month after Brighton’s mayor and a council member asked the Jefferson County Commission for help, another distressed western city is seeking aid.

This time, the city in trouble is Fairfield. Officials from that city told commissioners George Bowman and Sandra Little Brown recently that they need help protecting their citizens during the next three months, and they were worried about being able to make it through their next pay period. Read more.

Court Grants Fairfield Mayor Preliminary Injunction Against City Council

Mayor Ed May II has won the first round in his battle with the Fairfield City Council.

A Jefferson County judge issued a preliminary injunction in May’s favor Monday. The injunction prevents the council from stripping the mayor of most functions of his position, which had been reduced to a largely ceremonial job. It also temporarily restores the original functions to May, including the power to hire and fire, and sets aside the appointment of City Clerk Mary Roberson as city manager. Read more.

The Tyranny of Sales Tax: Alabama Cities Rely on It. Walmart is the Sought-After Retailer. But E-Commerce Threatens.

In Alabama, the big catch for the state’s economic development prospectors is a manufacturing plant and its hundreds, maybe thousands, of high-paying jobs. But individual cities go to great lengths to get big-box retailers to set up shop in their city limits, deploying consultants and dangling incentives. They’re following the money. Because of the state’s tax laws, the largest single source of municipal tax revenues is sales tax.

Big-box retailers come in several types and brand names. The biggest of them all, though, is Walmart. The largest private employer in the world, Walmart grew from its roots in Arkansas to be a major force in virtually every part of the United States. In Alabama alone, 38,000 people are employed by Walmart.

Tens of millions of customers across America walk through the doors of the company’s stores every day. In Alabama, cities that have a Walmart get taxes on sales to those customers, which helps pay for services such as police and fire protection. Walmart’s website states the company collected $684.6 million in sales taxes and fees in Alabama for the fiscal year ending in 2017 and paid another $92.1 million in its own additional taxes and fees.

Dependence on sales taxes is unusual compared to most other states and harkens back to Alabama’s early days as a state that was almost entirely rural and dependent on the production of cotton and timber. Property taxes are lower than in other states, in some cases much lower, especially on agricultural and forest lands. Read more.

A Tale of Two Jefferson County Cities: Sales Tax Comes and Sometimes Goes

By Robert Carter
Gardendale Mayor Stan Hogeland is one of the city officials who work to attract retailers of all shapes and sizes – and their sales taxes.

He said he spends time trying to bring in retailers “every single day.” According to figures provided by City Clerk Melissa Honeycutt, Gardendale derives 70 percent of its tax receipts from sales taxes.

It’s a different story in Fairfield, about 20 miles away. Fairfield was once a thriving city and home to a massive U.S. Steel factory complex and numerous shopping centers. After the factory closed, the stores followed. When the Walmart there closed, it took about a third of what was left of the city’s tax revenues, according to the mayor. Read more.

BW Expands Economic Development Coverage

Robert Carter covers economic development in Birmingham and Alabama, a new assignment in 2018. He is a veteran journalist, both with newspapers and in radio. A Kentucky native, Carter began working at his hometown Glasgow Daily Times straight out of high school. He also worked with Christian Family Radio in Bowling Green and with Western Kentucky University’s public radio service. In Alabama, Carter has worked at The Birmingham News and The North Jefferson News in Gardendale.

A Tale of Two Jefferson County Cities: Sales Tax Comes and Sometimes Goes

Gardendale Mayor Stan Hogeland is one of the city officials who work to attract retailers of all shapes and sizes – and their sales taxes.
He said he spends time trying to bring in retailers “every single day.” According to figures provided by City Clerk Melissa Honeycutt, Gardendale derives 70 percent of its tax receipts from sales taxes.

It’s a different story in Fairfield, about 20 miles away. Fairfield was once a thriving city and home to a massive U.S. Steel factory complex and numerous shopping centers. After the factory closed, the stores followed. When the Walmart there closed, it took about a third of what was left of the city’s tax revenues, according to the mayor. Read more.