Nick Saban’s dream is Hoover’s nightmare

Nick Saban, football coach at University of Alabama
Nick Saban, football coach at University of Alabama

Okay…I’ve written about this before.

But it makes us look so DUMB that I’m going to write about it again.

And I’m going to write about it over and over until someone gets disgusted enough to do something about it.

Are we fools?

How can we be such suckers?

Nick Saban is quoted in a speech at the American Football Association convention in 2014, “Every car dealer I know wants to be a coach. I always wanted to be a car dealer.”

Coach Saban is living his dream.  He’s not only the most respected football coach in America, but he owns Mercedes Benz dealerships in Hoover and soon in Nashville.

But here’s the main take away for you folks in Hoover: The City of Irondale has paid off Coach Saban and his partner at Mercedes Benz of Birmingham with a $13 million incentive to move their dealership from Hoover to Irondale.

And we’re supposed to be thrilledThe (new) dealership (will) feature a glass tower where a vehicle appears to float in air…It will be a showpiece.”

We certainly can’t blame Irondale.

Irondale is currently sucking up $3 million a year in sales tax revenue from automobile sales…pretty good for a small town with only 12,000 residents. And they’re just getting started.

Nor can we blame Nick Saban.

Who in their right mind would turn down $13 million?

But citizens in Hoover don’t seem to mind.

Hoover, are you paying attention?  Where is your outrage?

Hoover will lose about $10 million in sales tax revenue

  • $10 million that could be used for schools.
  • $10 million that could be used to reduce crime
  • $10 million that could be used for parks and beautification
  • $10 million in less taxes

Is it okay for Birmingham area municipalities to pay huge incentives to steal businesses from one another?

Irondale snatched Tom Williams Buick from Birmingham.  Then Birmingham pilfered Walmart  from Irondale with $11 million in incentives; Irondale tried to snag Trinity Medical Center from Birmingham, but the City of Birmingham gave Trinity $55 million to remain in the city limits.

We are giving our tax dollars to businesses that are playing us for suckers.

No wonder our Birmingham region is not growing jobs or population.

There’s an easy solution

  • We don’t have to combine municipalities
  • We don’t have to have a unified school system
  • We don’t have to convince the legislature
  • We don’t have to have a public vote

All we have to do is get our shortsighted mayors to sit down and agree not to steal companies from one another.

That’s what they did in Denver.

In August 2000, five counties and 25 municipalities in and around Denver voluntarily came together to sign the Mile High Compact. The Compact is an intergovernmental agreement not to compete with each other for companies.

Not only have the Denver municipalities agreed not to pilfer companies from one another, but they work together to recruit new businesses.

If a Denver municipality is unable to accommodate an out of state business, then the prospect is referred to other municipalities in the region and everyone works together in the recruitment process.

The people in Denver understand that if a business moves into an adjacent municipality—everyone benefits.

Nick Saban is known for his ‘process.’

We also have a process—but our process allows manipulative businesses to play us against one another.

Looks like a ‘lousy’ process.

Let’s turn Birmingham around.  Click here to sign up for our newsletter. There’s power in numbers. (Opt out at any time)

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. dsher@amsher.com

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17 thoughts on “Nick Saban’s dream is Hoover’s nightmare”

  1. You do know Saban and his partners planned to build in Irondale BEFORE they had any ownership interest what-so-ever in Crown, right? The only reason they wound up owning Crown is because they sued Saban to stop him from building his own dealership and the outcome of that entire thing was Saban and his partners buying Crown.

    So Hoover didn’t really lose the Mercedes dealership to Irondale since he was already planning to build there. Crown Automotive the dealership to Irondale by getting into a pissing match with Saban and his partners and then selling out to settle everything.

    But sure, twist the truth and make it out like Saban pocketed $13 million just to steal the dealership from Hoover. I’m sure that makes a better headline anyway…

    1. Robert, thanks for posting. I didn’t know some of the facts you presented until I got a private e-mail from a friend yesterday. It’s good that you let everyone know more of the story. However, it even looks worse for our region that Saban & partner wanted to move to Irondale from the beginning and Irondale still offered a $13 million incentive. I am a business owner and I have a lot of business owner friends. When we want to expand or move, we have to invest, or more likely borrow, money from our businesses. We pay taxes. We don’t ask taxpayers to pay us. If Saban & partner couldn’t afford to move to Irondale, they would have stayed in Hoover and continued to pay taxes to Hoover. I’m not attacking Saban, Hoover, or Irondale. Our county is stuck with competing governments. Good for a few–terrible for everyone else. Please continue to comment. You obviously have valuable information to contribute.

      1. That’s where you’re still wrong. The incentive was there from the beginning to get Sagan and his partners to build his new dealership in Irondale period. Crown and Hoover had nothing to do with it. This was Irondale offering an incentive for a new business to the city just like cities offer incentives to land Walmart or other shopping centers, and technically Irondale isn’t paying them to build they are rebating sales tax to them so had they not built in the first place, Irondale wouldn’t have had the money anyway. This isn’t terrible for many by any means. It brings new sales tax to Irondale that happens to include a rebate over a period of years for a portion of the sales tax made off retails sales and services. Just like what Irondale did when Tom Williams started looking to move all their dealerships out of the city center… Irondale worked with them to secure the land for a new autoplex which has been a huge success… And a lot of the old Tom Williams properties have been redeveloped into new thriving businesses in downtown Birmingham. That, to me at least, is a win-win.

        1. …except our Birmingham-Hoover metro (7 counties) have fewer jobs than we did 10 years ago because we’ve taken taxpayer monies that could be used to recruit new businesses and jobs as is done in Nashville and Charlotte and squandered it on recyclings exciting businesses.

          1. So do you have sources to prove these additional statements or is this just more information you’re throwing out to see what sticks in order to support your agenda?

            And even if you can provide sources to prove these statements, it doesn’t change the fact that irondale did not set out to steal Crown Mercedes.

          2. Robert, I don’t understand your animosity towards me? You don’t seem to be like the trolls I regularly read on al.com. I’m just trying to facilitate a conversation to improve our community. If you find I’ve given false information or statistics, please send me source and I will retract. Here are the statistics on lack of job growth in the Birmingham-Hoover Metro: https://comebacktown.com/2017/04/05/are-birmingham-business-leaders-are-loopy/. I welcome your feedback–you obviously care about our region.

          3. Hey David – I think you confused me with Robert. I’m in total agreement with you. Keep spreading the gospel!

          4. First, I don’t know who Paul is. I assume you’re actually talking to me.

            And it seems you’re ignoring the simple facts of what happened between 2006 and 2016 in those job numbers. We experienced one of the worst recessions we have ever seen in this country outside the Great Depression. The lost over 40,000 jobs from 2006 to 2010 largely due to the recession. After bottoming out at 495,400 in 2010 the metro actually rebounded a good back gaining almost 30,000 of those jobs back by 2016.

            And I’m different from your typical AL.com trolls because I actually bother to do the research and read up on what I’m talking about. I’m not just throwing out insults to be a jackass like the majority of people on AL.com are.

            But I find your arguments, at least on this post, to be disingenuous. Even after pointing out that Irondale did not set out to steal Crown Mercedes and you admitting that you had not fully researched the history of all of this, you still haven’t updated your story with the additional facts of what happened.

            And then you go on to defend your story based on “fewer jobs than we did 10 years ago”… Which, while factually true, is very disingenuous. We likely have fewer jobs because of the recession; not because cities are competing with each other to recruit businesses. And by fewer, you mean 1200 jobs less in 2016 compared to 2006. 1200 fewer jobs after losing over 40,000 jobs. I’d say that’s actually a remarkable recovery to be honest.

            And beyond that, you make it sound like stealing companies is an epidemic in this area. Besides the high profile cases of cities tempting Walmart and other retail developments, what businesses have been poached on a large scale exactly? And it’s beyond funny that you’re harping on Irondale attempting to steal a business from Hoover (which they did not) yet the city of Birmingham by and large very much stole from Hoover – they spent millions getting the Barons to abandon Hoover. Why isn’t that a big deal to you as well? I’d speculate that isn’t a big deal to you because that actually was a good move for Birmingham and you’re happy they got the Barron’s back in town. But that’s just my opinion.

  2. We don’t have to have a unified school system.
    We don’t even have to have a monopolistic school system run by government.

    We could actually educate (not indoctrinate) our children by providing them vouchers which they could use to buy real education in the marketplace from the provider of their choice.

  3. They WILL DO MORE BUSINESS there.
    Concerning RELOCATION, many factors will trigger that: change in the economic environment , population shifts, road accessibility, etc. I found those factors outweighed the “incentives”. I never experienced the “dog-fighting” factors you described today. Maybe times have changed.
    Regardless , I agree we need ONE GREAT CITY!

  4. Robert – I believe what David is pointing out is our “region” would be better served if we spent our time/energy/$ pursuing businesses that don’t already exist in the “region”. Saban and Crown aren’t the problem – they are just being good businessmen with their decision. David was really just using their situation as an example of where our economic development isn’t looking at the “greater good”.
    A reasonable conclusion would be that if the $13 million had been used to lure companies outside our region, then we would have a much better chance of bringing a new company and jobs to the regions which will improve our area.

    1. At the end of the day, Irondale is giving Saban and his partner $13 out of their pocket immediately. It’s “up to $10 million” over 10 years time. So your argument that if Irondale had used that $13 million to lure companies outside our region… Irondale isn’t using an existing supply of $13 million dollars in the first place. They don’t have that laying around in a vault to use. They are promising it against future tax revenue generated by the very dealership they were trying to land in town BEFORE Crown got involved. They were doing economic development for the city of Irondale. They were pushing to secure new jobs, new tax revenues and the potential for future new businesses on out parcels of land. Irondale, for the most part, is doing what you claim you want to see done. It just so happened that Crown got involved and part of that settlement involved Saban and his partners buying Crown’s dealership. In the end, Saban is still planning to do what they planned in the first place. Build a new dealership in Irondale. They are not nor did they set out to steal anything from Hoover.

      It’s a disingenuous false narrative to paint Saban and his partner as poaching businesses when that is not what their intentions were at the outset.

  5. David , you are getting raked over the coals on AL.com because you forgot to utilize those pesky things called facts. You may be trying to convince people of your argument but half-truths and a lack of research make you look more like a snake oil salesman.

    1. What’s worse John is that those pesky things like facts were pointed out to David on May 3rd to which he replied and I quote, “I didn’t know some of the facts you presented until I got a private e-mail from a friend yesterday. It’s good that you let everyone know more of the story.”

      I shouldn’t have to be the one to let people know the facts since David is the one writing the story. And even after being presented actual facts in the timeline of how this evolved, he STILL posted the story on al.com with factually incorrect information. And after further investigation, he has even more facts wrong including the statements about Tom Williams Buick which Irondale has absolutely jack crap to do with…

      AL.com should retract this story and the previous incarnation of the story from last year as well.

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