Here are those ‘hellish’ numbers: 37, 53, and 24.
But you will have to see the list at the end of this piece to understand the magnitude of the problem.
Let’s start with a question: Would you know where to drive if I invited you to lunch in North Johns?
How about Maytown?
Or Sylvan Springs?
Don’t know where these cities are located?
Well you should.
These are our sister cities in Jefferson County.
Do you know the actual number of municipalities in Jefferson County?
I’ve asked dozens of people, including county officials, and no one seems to know for sure.
Both the Alabama League of Municipalities and the Bhamwiki list 34 cities in Jefferson County.
But there are three cities that are partially located in Jefferson County that are not listed:
I don’t know why these cities are not counted when there are five well known cities that split county lines that are included:
- Birmingham (Jefferson/Shelby)
- Hoover (Jefferson/Shelby)
- Vestavia Hills (Jefferson/Shelby)
- Leeds (Jefferson/St. Clair/Shelby)
- Trussville (Jefferson/St. Clair)
My guess is there are 37 cities in Jefferson County—not 34. But who knows?
There are 6 Jefferson County municipalities that have less than 1,000 people:
- Cardiff 55
- North Johns 145
- West Jefferson 338
- Maytown 385
- Trafford 646
- Mulga 836
Cities 7 through 12 have a combined population of 10,517 which is close in size to Pleasant Grove—the 14th most populated city in Jefferson County.
Many out of state counties competing with Jefferson County include only one city: Louisville, Nashville, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, San Francisco, Denver, New Orleans (Parish rather than a county), Boston, Philadelphia, Lexington, and San Francisco…
Jefferson County has:
- 37 mayors
- 53 fire departments*
- 24 police departments.** (plus the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department)
Can you imagine the duplication and waste?
It’s a proven fact that segmented regions don’t do as well economically as those that are more unified.
Fewer businesses and fewer jobs mean a lower standard of living. Maybe that’s why our Birmingham-Hoover seven county Metropolitan area has less people employed now than nine years ago.
37 municipalities, 53 fire departments, and 24 police departments-in one county.
Does that make sense?
*Jefferson County Fire Departments (53)
- Adamsville Fire
- Adger Volunteer Fire
- Bagley Volunteer Fire
- Bessemer Fire
- Birmingham Fire & Rescue
- Birmingport Volunteer Fire
- Brighton Fire
- Brookside/Cardiff Fire
- Cahaba Valley Fire
- Cain Creek Volunteer Fire
- Center Point Fire
- Concord Fire
- Corner Volunteer Fire
- Eastern Valley Fire
- Fairfield Fire
- Forestdale Fire
- Fultondale Fire
- Gardendale Fire
- Glennwood Volunteer Fire
- Graysville Fire
- Homewood Fire
- Hoover Fire
- Hueytown Fire
- Indian Ford Volunteer Fire
- Irondale Fire
- Kimberly Fire
- Leeds Fire
- Lipscomb Fire
- Maytown Volunteer Fire
- McAdory Volunteer Fire Districts 1&2
- McCalla Volunteer Fire District
- Midfield Fire
- Minor Heights Fire
- Mount Olive Volunteer Fire
- Morris Volunteer Fire
- Mountain Brook Fire
- Mulga Volunteer Fire
- North Smithfield Manor Volunteer Fire
- Palmerdale Fire
- Pleasant Grove Fire
- Rexlake Fire
- Rocky Ridge Fire
- Shady Grove Fire
- Shannon Volunteer Fire
- Sylvan Springs Fire
- Tarrant Fire
- Trafford Volunteer Fire
- Trussville Fire
- US Steel
- Vestavia Hills Fire
- Warrior Fire
- Warrior River Fire
- West Jefferson Volunteer Fire
**Jefferson County Police Departments (24 plus Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department
- Mountain Brook
- Pleasant Grove
- Vestavia Hills
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David Sher is Co-Founder of AmSher Compassionate Collections. He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (REV Birmingham), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).
Invite David to speak to your group about a better Birmingham. firstname.lastname@example.org.
12 thoughts on “3 hellish numbers wrecking Birmingham”
How do you propose we unite into one overarching municipal government?
Mc, hang in there. You will begin to see some viable options presented after the 1st of the year.
Awesome – can’t wait to help be a part of the solution
All monopolies tend to deliver poor quality at high prices, and the cause of the bad numbers is the school system. There will be no uniting until we use education vouchers to promote some competition for our government schools. The GI Bill after World War II proved that vouchers work.
I hate to add to the misery but I must add 1 more to the police department list. Red Mountain Park created a police/EMS force to ensure we had the ability to respond quickly to incidents on park property. This is a registered agency with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and it has an official agency number. Our park rangers are fully trained and certified in both police and EMS skills. We have mutual aid agreements with surrounding jurisdictions and our rangers communicate, cooperate and collaborate with other agencies regularly. Creating this ability within our organization and training and equipping our staff was expensive but it ensured our ability to protect our staff and visitors while providing them with the safest park experience possible.
David, now that is something most people didn’t know–including me.
David we looked for every way possible to avoid the expense but it just would not work. My experience in Anne Arundel County, Maryland was quite different. We had unified County wide government that provided a very high level of service at a very reasonable cost, whether it was police, fire/ems, public works, parks, libraries and on and on. Our police worked closely with our non-law enforcement rangers, helped train our staff and relied on the rangers for technical expertise, information and other support. On the rare occasion we needed an officer in a park the response was immediate. I was not able to create these relationships here as we are divided into many jurisdictions and service silos. So we dug deep into the budget and we established an agency for the park. You can imagine that creating a combination law enforcement / Emergency Medical Service unit from scratch is not cheap. And in this endeavor you cannot cut corners. An untrained inefficient unit that is poorly equipped is a liability to the community. In the long run it will do more harm than good.
Some may wonder why we did not just rely on the agencies that bordered our park. Two important reasons come to mind. First, from the very beginning, our Commission emphasized the safety and security of our visitors and staff. They will not compromise that standard. Second, our neighboring agencies, like public agencies everywhere, already stretched to the limit. Police officers are called a Thin Blue Line for many reasons and one reason is thin resources.
But there is some good news. Red Mountain Park is surrounded by dedicated, motivated public servants who are ready and willing to come to our assistance when called. It is not unusual to hear officers from multiple jurisdictions respond and turn towards the park when a ranger radios dispatch that he is out in a remote section of the park with suspicious characters or criminals. That call notifies the bad guys that help is already on the way and that the well-equipped and armed type A personality ordering them around is not alone out in the woods. He is serious, he is a top tier professional and his friends are one the way.
I believe you left out County Line which has 238 people and is partially in Blount County. Thus 38.
But more to the point, this is the reason everyone should live in the city of Birmingham. The only way for those municipalities and fire districts to go away is to starve them of their precious taxes and population. If everyone lived in the city of Birmingham, there would be a de facto consolidated government. There would be a united front against the destructive state government. There would be more regional inclusion in the many appointments that affect the whole region – the airport authority, the BWWB, the list goes on.
I am not saying urban vs rural as everyone will jump to conclude. I am saying inside the city limits vs outside. You can still have your 3000 square foot home on an acre, it will just be located inside the city of Birmingham as opposed to Hoover.
Mr. Sher, won’t you please join the movement and relocate your home to the Birmingham city limits? Won’t you lease register to vote inside the city limits so you can vote out the people you so decry who only serve to harm the perception of Birmingham?
Birmingham Only, you are my most faithful commenter. We both want what is best for our Birmingham region. We just propose different solutions.
I would be interested in seeing a feasible solution that actually garners even token support among those outside of Birmingham. As it stands no one has really presented that.
I can infer your solution based upon months of blogging. Your solution requires people to actively give up power(the mayors/councilors with direct vested interests in seeing their individual cities survive as well as the corrupt, power hungry Birmingham city apparatus), while mine only requires people to do what millions of people have been doing for years now – move into the city. With an extra 30,000 citizens in the city, the whole city council and mayor can change.
Furthermore, your solution fails to address 2 issues: the lack of jobs being created in the area – a direct result of the pathetic, traitorous Birmingham Business Alliance; and the lack of someone, anyone with high net worth who gives a damn about Birmingham.
Why do these things matter? Without the creation of jobs, there is very little inward migration and plenty of outward migration from the area. It is going to require an increase in Birmingham population with those from other areas who are open to this idea, and anyone educated enough to support it here leaves after their 18th birthday. Without someone with money behind this initiative, it is doomed to fail. Without someone who will spend money truly transforming Birmingham, it is doomed to fail. Outside of George Barber, who with money gives a damn about Birmingham? I am not talking about someone who gives money to the zoo or some charitable organization. I am talking about building buildings, transforming city blocks, increasing tourism. The Harberts? Please. Drummonds? Do they even set foot in the city limits? EBSCO family? They forsook Birmingham before it even became fashionable. John Johns? Sellout.
When someone worth many millions decides to spend some of their money TRANSFORMING the city, not just giving to some charitable ball, then wake me up. They can drop their pants, and I will drive to them and kiss their ass.
And for examples of what I am talking about – Pizitz project, Lyric theater, Barber Museum, Box Row