By Mayors Ron Anders, Jr.; Tommy Battle; Randall Woodfin
This is a guest opinion column
Sometimes laws become outdated and begin to have negative consequences for the people they were originally meant to help. When that happens, it becomes necessary to vote out the old law to make way for an improved system.
It’s a situation dozens of cities around Alabama are facing, and we need the public’s help to change it. A decades-old provision deep within Alabama’s legal system requires certain municipal governments go into debt and pay interest when they want to take on specific capital projects like building new parks and roads. It means some cities must borrow money with interest to build a fire station rather than pay for it with their revenues.
There is no longer a reason for this. In fact, it hurts the citizens of Alabama when their local governments must take on cumbersome levels of interest and loan closing costs in situations when they should be able to pay for capital projects as they go.
Here is where you, the voters, come in. We are asking you to vote “yes” on Amendment 6 when you go to the polls on November 8. If approved by the people, Amendment 6 would free a number of Alabama’s cities from an antiquated system and allow us to be more responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars.
[Amendment 6 says cities and towns that collect a special property tax may use those tax dollars to directly “pay-as-you-go” for construction projects instead of going into debt.]
We recognize this may not be the most compelling issue for many voters. That doesn’t change the fact that this policy change is needed for city governments to be more nimble, efficient and effective.
One last thing. Amendment 6 is not a Democratic or Republican issue. When the bill proposing this amendment came before the state legislature, it passed both chambers unanimously. Every member in attendance – representatives and senators from both parties – believed it to be a good idea. Similarly, the mayors of the cities involved agree that a “yes” on Amendment 6 is the way to go. Don’t forget to flip over your ballot on election day and help support good fiscal management in local government.
Ron Anders, Jr. is Mayor of Auburn; Tommy Battle is Mayor of Huntsville; Randall Woodfin is Mayor of Birmingham