Are you one of the many Hoover residents who is tired of hearing the phrase "Hoover approves __ number of new homes in ____ subdivision?" Our city seems to be in a constant state of growth, and while most of the projects on the table are being built on land that was zoned in the mid 1980s, we can do more to partner with developers to make sure that we grow responsibly. I would like to see open dialogs with developers where we voice the concerns of the people and ask them to plan measured growth over a period of time.
When it comes to future annexation and development, I would like to see Hoover adopt a growth management ordinance (GMO). What is a GMO? It is an ordinance that sets limits to the number of developments that can be approved in a calendar or fiscal year. A GMO sets guidelines as to the impact levels a development can have on area traffic, area schools and school feeder patterns and of course our infrastructure. When these limits are exceeded, the developer is asked (either through physical or financial means) to correct the imbalance. I believe that this will provide a one stop solution for two of the biggest problems facing our city.
Providing a Proper Infrastructure for Hoover
Through Growth Management
Adequate Funding for
Have you ever wondered how the city determines how many firemen or policemen are needed to handle the vast footprint of our city? What about the process for repaving or widening roads? How about whether or not we need a new elementary school? These items are examples of our city's infrastructure. I belive that we have not been aggresive enough in planning and providing for an infrastructure that fits our ever growing city. As your representative, I will push for more officers to patrol our streets, outposts in Greystone and Ross Bridge to protect our outermost communties, more fire stations and firemen in our areas of current and future growth. I will call for more funding for schools to aleviate the need for additional rezoning. I will push for more funding for road repairs in our aging neighborhoods. A solid infrastructure is the key to a thriving city.
It is no secret that the level of local funding for our schools has dramatically decreased over the past decade. During that same timeframe, federal and state dollars have decreased as well, leaving a hole in the wallet of our school system. Currently, Hoover City Schools operates with a $10 million dollar budget deficit. While it is true that the system does have additional funds in savings, those funds will run out by 2020 if we continue to operate in this manner.
I belive the answer lies in an adapted version of the initial school system funding plan. In 1988, the city was providing the system with 30% of the city's sales tax or a minimum allocation of $4.1 million dollars per year. While we cannot provide 30% of our sales tax dollars for our schools without putting the city in a position of deficit spending, I do belive that we could allocate 5% to our schools. I also believe that we could increase our base contribution to the original minimum of $4.1 million per year. Add in the 5% (approximately $3.4 million based on 2014 sales tax returns) and the city is contributing $7.5 million per year for education. While it is not an exact answer for the $10 million dollar deficit, it is much closer to filling the hole and allows the school system to stretch out their reserves until a better solution can be found.
I can still remember the first time I walked through the doors of the Riverchase Galleria as a 10yr old kid. There was something magical about living in the same city as the largest mall in the southeast. As the Galleria turns 30, I think its time to elevate OUR mall back to its rightful place as the #1 shopping destination in the Birmingham metro area. How do we do it? By attracting retailers that can "only be found in Hoover." I envision stores like American Girl (for those of you without daughters, it is an experience you have to see to believe), restaurants like Dave and Busters, and even live entertainment and performance art in the food court.
My vision doesn't end with the Galleria, I would like to see all of our shopping centers full of tennants and full of customers, no matter the age or location of the complex. I think we could create a Hoover version of Homewood's Edgewood shopping center in Bluff Park. We can continue the revival of the shopping areas in the Green Valley area. Thriving retail outlets mean more sales tax dollars for our city and will provide much needed funds to improve our infrastructure.
A Renewed Focus on
Retail Circa 1986
I believe that our city has moved away from the core principles that built Hoover into what it is today. Hoover is growing at a rate that cannot be supported by our infrastructure. We are overlooking our school system that once stood as the jewel of the city. We are not competing with surrounding cities, and striving to make Hoover the city of choice for new families as they make their start. I believe in responsible, measured growth through growth management ordinances that will provide a solid infrastructure for all future residents of our city. I believe in a strong, thriving school system that is properly funded. Above all, I believe in a Hoover that belongs to its people, and I want to foster open communication between citizens and elected leaders. If you share these beliefs and are ready to build the Hoover of the 21st century, then I hope you will consider supporting my campaign. Below is my plan for a better Hoover.