ComebackTown is published by David Sher & Phyllis Neill to begin a discussion on a better Birmingham.
Today’s guest blogger is Jeffrey Bayer. If you’d like to be a guest blogger, please click here.
Haven’t we had enough?
Aren’t we tired of falling behind our peer cities?
Cities such as Charlotte, Nashville, Indianapolis, Jacksonville and Louisville have created their opportunities for growth because they have consolidated municipal services–not just collaborated, but changed their method of governance.
We say it can’t be done here because the cities of Vestavia Hills, Homewood, Hoover and Mountain Brook, to name a few, could never agree to come together–much less with the City of Birmingham. What is not said out loud is the affluent suburban communities were created for racial separation and continue today for the same reason. No one’s willing to put their self-interest behind the greater good for a dynamic metro movement.
I would suggest we forget about these surrounding pristine municipalities, and focus on an initial step to bring together the City of Birmingham and Jefferson County. They are the two largest governments, have the most in common, could generate the most in operational economic savings, and could probably eliminate the need for occupational taxes due to operational efficiencies–thereby ridding an economic model that impedes the very growth they both covet.
Two separate governments, divided by a park, providing the same services, makes NO sense. One struggling to stay alive, and the other saddled with providing the majority of financial support for our critical metro services (airport, museums, new hotel and entertainment district, transportation system … to name a few) and it has the poorest overall population. Where is the logic?
Combine the two governments, leave the others out, and bring together the majority of residents in our metro area into one powerful operational unit.
We are surrounded by many examples of successful models in the aforementioned metros; however, we scream we are so unique that it can’t happen here. Why is that? We know why!
Trying to convince the affluent suburban communities is a waste of time and will keep us last in the region for decades to come. Let’s be pragmatic. The coming together of the City of Birmingham and Jefferson County is natural and can be done NOW. Our citizens should demand it…NOW!
Jeffrey A. Bayer is President and CEO of Bayer Properties. Bayer Properties, developer of our very successful Summit Shopping Center, has grown from a local property management company to a national commercial real estate firm. Jeffrey’s a Birmingham native and a true Birmingham supporter.
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David Sher is the publisher of ComebackTown, a co-founder of Buzz12 Advertising and co-CEO of AmSher Collection Agency. He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (REV Birmingham)), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).