We were totally surprised to the response to Jeffrey Bayer’s idea to combine Jefferson County with the City of Birmingham.
“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…
This is a creative and unique idea, but we assumed we would be blasted by negative commenters.
There were a few skeptics, but overwhelmingly the response to Jeffrey’s remarks on ComebackTown were positive…
This is an elegant solution. Ending the duplication of services is one great point. Eliminating occupational taxes is another. Buckminster Fuller said that old systems are replaced because people stop using them in favor of better systems. Merging Birmingham and Jefferson County government would create a far better system than the status quo and it can be done without the support of the suburban communities. Once those communities see how much better the combined system is, they might recognize the benefits of eliminating their own duplication of services and join the better system, or continue as they are. We would still have a better overall system than we currently have…
Great insight! I used to live near Charlotte and boy did they turn that city around. It would be great to get all the affluent suburbs on board but I guess baby steps with trying to get the city and county together to start. Birmingham has great potential. Let’s hope we can capitalize on it sooner than later…
There are 30+ municipalities in Jeffco, each doing their own thing and duplicating services. Any approach that would find a way for those who would like to join a consortium of municipalities to share services and let the others go their way would be a step in the right direction. As municipal budget pressures increase, some of these communities will eventually see the value, even necessity, of working together. As you say, I don’t believe the concept of a truly county-wide government will ever happen, but this could be a start. Hope you can get some traction with this.
We don’t know if Jeffrey’s suggestion is “the idea” to fix our region, but it obviously warrants conversation.
Please consider commenting below.
Let’s not concentrate on our failures or our politicians past or present because a new government might give us a fresh start.
Cities like Nashville, Charlotte, and Austin exude confidence and spirit.
We in Birmingham are capable of that same optimism.
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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).