Tonight the Vestavia Hills City Council will consider a resolution that would throw its support behind the Alabama Financially Distressed Counties Relief Act, a bill that would authorize the Jefferson County Commission to reinstate its occupational tax to right itself financially.
“The council is dismayed by the reports that some of our local delegates to the AL House of Reps are working against SB 567,” Council President Mary Lee Rice wrote in an email to Weld. “We believe the local delegation should unite in support of this bill and take all steps necessary to pass it without amendment.”
An amendment attached in the House County and Municipal Government Committee would exclude residents from other counties from the tax. Meanwhile, Rep. Jim Carns, who represents parts of Vestavia Hills, is pushing lawmakers to pass a substitute bill which would put a five-year sunset on the occupational tax and unearmark funds directed to Cooper Green Mercy Hospital.
Read the full text of the proposed council resolution below.
A RESOLUTION URGING JEFFERSON COUNTY DELEGATES TO THE ALABAMA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES TO UNANIMOUSLY SUPPORT AND TAKE ALL STEPS NECESSARY TO PASS THE ALABAMA FINANCIALLY DISTRESSED COUNTIES ACT.
WHEREAS, the government of Jefferson County, Alabama is facing a fiscal crisis which severely jeopardizes services to residents of the county and imposes serious financial burdens on the county’s municipalities, and
WHEREAS, Jefferson County’s significant revenue shortfall results from a 2010 judicial ruling that its occupational tax was unconstitutional because the Alabama Legislature improperly advertised the enabling legislation, and
WHEREAS, in 2011 the Alabama Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s ruling that the Alabama Legislature improperly advertised the enabling legislation, and
WHEREAS, the current Jefferson County Commission has worked diligently to trim operational costs and increase efficiencies by hiring a county manager, reducing more than 800 personnel positions, selling the county nursing home, and increasing budgetary accountability, and
WHEREAS, the Jefferson County Commission in January, 2012 requested the Alabama Legislature to reinstate the occupational tax, which had been generating $66 million per year for county operations, and
WHEREAS, the Alabama Senate has passed SB 567, the Alabama Financially Distressed Counties Act, which will generate as much as $62 million annually for Jefferson County operations, and
WHEREAS, this statewide legislation is awaiting action in the Alabama House of Representatives, and
WHEREAS, the actions of the Jefferson County local delegation will have significant impact on the outcome of the House vote, as other state representatives look to follow their lead, and
WHEREAS, it is reported that certain local legislators are actively working against the bill in conjunction with legislators from outside Jefferson County, and
WHEREAS, the Vestavia Hills City Council is dismayed by these reports and believes that passage of the bill is essential to the provision of county services to our residents, to the financial well-being of our municipality, and to local economic development, and
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF VESTAVIA HILLS, ALABAMA urges Jefferson County’s delegation to unite in support of the Senate’s Alabama Financially Distressed Counties Act and to take all steps necessary to ensure its passage, without amendment, in the Alabama House of Representatives.
This Resolution Number 4301 shall become effective immediately upon adoption and approval.