April 1, 2019
Tuscaloosa City Councilor Phyllis Odom will make a motion to reconsider Mayor Walt Maddox’s Elevate Tuscaloosa proposal at the April 2 council meeting. Elevate Tuscaloosa was defeated 4-3 on March 5, however under the council’s rules of procedure, any member of the prevailing side is able to make a motion to reconsider the proposal.
Members of the council, including Odom, have agreed to reconsider the plan after reaching a compromise providing that the one-penny increase to the city’s sales tax will not take effect until the Alabama Legislature allows for the exemption of municipal share of grocery tax, the governor signs it into law and the City Council adopts an ordinance to that effect. If the legislature fails to enact the bill, then council will begin discussions to lessen the burden by leveraging the current environmental services fee.
The Elevate Tuscaloosa proposal will be placed on the April 9, 2019 Finance Committee agenda where the merits of the proposed projects and funding plan will be discussed. If needed, additional meetings will be scheduled prior to final adoption.
District 1 Councilor Phyllis Odom
“Elevate Tuscaloosa provides connectivity for West Tuscaloosa to Downtown which is essential for the revitalization efforts. Although the first vote was not successful, I knew we had to keep the momentum moving forward. Over the past 28 days, I’ve had meaningful discussions with the Mayor and council members that has led to this compromise. I believe Elevate Tuscaloosa will make the most significant public investment in decades for West Tuscaloosa. From education, to transportation, to infrastructure, to parks, to workforce development, this is our opportunity to raise the trajectory of our schools, neighborhoods and jobs. It is a moment that must be seized.”
District 2 Councilor Raevan Howard
“West Tuscaloosa requires public investment which will be a force multiplier for private sector investments. Elevate Tuscaloosa opens up over 100 acres of commercial and residential development opportunities and works to create economic hotspots by leveraging sports tourism. In addition, by embedding funding for neighborhood parks and storm drainage projects, we have secured the needed resources to lift up my district and our entire city.”
District 4 Councilor Matt Calderone
“Tuscaloosa has the ability to maintain where we are without any additional revenue, but that is not where we want to be if we are going to seize the years ahead. With additional investments in education, job development and the experience economy, we will be able to compete with Huntsville, Chattanooga, Greenville and other like cities in the nation. Elevate Tuscaloosa provides a transformative blueprint with strategic investments that will serve our community for decades.”
District 6 Councilor Eddie Pugh
“I’ve spent my professional lifetime protecting and serving Tuscaloosa which is why I included provisions in Elevate Tuscaloosa that will continue the much-needed investments into police and fire vehicles, equipment and technology. Our public safety personnel deserve to have the most modern and technology advanced tools to serve the people of our city. Elevate Tuscaloosa accomplishes that and more.”
District 7 Councilor Sonya McKinstry
“After a thorough review of the Elevate Tuscaloosa proposal, I can support the need to invest in education, transportation and economic growth. In addition to my concerns for the city, there were my concerns for the neighborhoods, businesses, as well as public safety concerns within my district. To that end, I had to be certain that my constituents received investments, especially in the areas of essential services – I believe they will.”
Mayor Walt Maddox
“In celebrating Tuscaloosa’s 200th Birthday, we are not only reminded of our past, but of our sacred responsibility to shape the future. Elevate Tuscaloosa provides the strategic investments to shape a much brighter future for all of Tuscaloosa. By aligning Elevate Tuscaloosa with the municipal grocery tax exemption sponsored by Representative Chris England and Senator Bobby Singleton, our Council is demonstrating progressive and forward-leaning leadership. I look forward to working with our entire Council in elevating our City. Today is historic because if we pass this plan, over the next decade, Tuscaloosa will compete and succeed for our children, for new jobs and for a higher quality of life.”