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kayman

Langford proposes sales tax increase and doubling business license fees

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Mayor calls for a 1-cent increase on sales tax and doubling of the city's business license fee

Langford proposed a 1-cent increase on the city's sales tax to fund and pay for a number of public projects. These projects includes, but are not limited to funding of a multi-purpose domed sports stadium, improving the BJCTA, supporting economic development, and improving BPD. He has the proposal placed in sealed enveloped delivered to the City Council, but apparently somebody leaked the information to the media.

I'm all for the improvement of the city of Birmingham and fixing the declining infastructure, but he need to focus on those things rather than that stadium proposal. I have come to the conclusion that he should be negotiating with the Jeffco Commission to just settle on a 40,000-seat sports arena that can be expanded in the future, and 200-300K additional convention space in the form of 2 new exhibition halls at the BJCC. This more feasible and politically-capable of accomplishing along with county and state assistance.

Also, I'm wondering why Mayor Langford hasn't made it his priority to being fixing the city schools, roads, mass transit, and the public protection instead. I emphasize the emphasis on the mass transit system as it is unreasonable for the current system to be so broken and inefficient. The infastructure is what the visitors of this city are first exposed to not some sports stadium.

It just seems Mayor Langford has his priorities for this city very misplaced on the wrong things.

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Mayor calls for a 1-cent increase on sales tax and doubling of the city's business license fee

Langford proposed a 1-cent increase on the city's sales tax to fund and pay for a number of public projects. These projects includes, but are not limited to funding of a multi-purpose domed sports stadium, improving the BJCTA, supporting economic development, and improving BPD. He has the proposal placed in sealed enveloped delivered to the City Council, but apparently somebody leaked the information to the media.

I'm all for the improvement of the city of Birmingham and fixing the declining infastructure, but he need to focus on those things rather than that stadium proposal. I have come to the conclusion that he should be negotiating with the Jeffco Commission to just settle on a 40,000-seat sports arena that can be expanded in the future, and 200-300K additional convention space in the form of 2 new exhibition halls at the BJCC. This more feasible and politically-capable of accomplishing along with county and state assistance.

Also, I'm wondering why Mayor Langford hasn't made it his priority to being fixing the city schools, roads, mass transit, and the public protection instead. I emphasize the emphasis on the mass transit system as it is unreasonable for the current system to be so broken and inefficient. The infastructure is what the visitors of this city are first exposed to not some sports stadium.

It just seems Mayor Langford has his priorities for this city very misplaced on the wrong things.

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I thought I read that some of the money was going towards expanding the current mass transit system

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That's what I thought too. He's been a proponent of expanding the transit system, including bringing back streetcars, and I hope his plan includes funding for light rail as well.

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Yeah, the plan does include an additional $15M for the BJCTA (Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority) to the $8M that is currently used to operate it annually. The only thing is Langford should have dedicated more toward the transit authority rather than the multi-purpose domed facility.

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^ Maybe I'm wrong, but adding a few million a year to the transit authority's budget seems akin to giving a wino a couple of extra bottles of wine each week. I hope he funds a major capital improvement program that includes light rail and streetcars, rather than letting the transit authority buy a few new buses and squander the rest of the money.

I agree that transit is a higher priority than the dome that people have been obsessing about for years.

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Well according to my knowledge, all the BJCTA needs is at least 20% locally (which is set at $20M annually) to match the federal dollars set aside to expand the system county-wide as planned. If this proposal does go through that would mean that they would have enough to fund an expanded system that includes the replacements of the current buses along with new buses for expanded/new routes and to add enhanced hybrid buses for the proposed bus-rapid transit system in the City Center. The current long-term plans does still include a regional light rail and bus rapid transit system, but not streetcars anymore.

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Looks like I may have to eat a little crow on this one. Those federal matching funds are a big deal, so funding the match would be a good thing. Maybe he'll have some funds left over to float a bond for some other big-ticket transit projects.

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I mean, when you think about it, it's not only about which is more important. Think about it, if we build the dome before we do the transit, traffic is going to be a nightmare around town after games and conventions let out. Building the transit system up first would go a long way to improving exit strategies around the stadium after events.

So, it's also about convenience, and what makes some flippin sense! :)

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Yeah, the plan does include an additional $15M for the BJCTA (Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority) to the $8M that is currently used to operate it annually. The only thing is Langford should have dedicated more toward the transit authority rather than the multi-purpose domed facility.

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The city council voted today 6-0 passing the tax increase to fund the dome stadium, transit system, and education. This is a big victory for Langford and Birmingham; I can't believe he was able to get this much done in such a short period of time. It's amazing what a mayor with this much energy can do! This man has done more in one month what Kincaid did during his entire term. Kincaid took credit for the condo developments downtown, which would have happened with anybody in office. I think between this dome/hotel/new convention space, the new park system and hopefully the restored trolley network we will give Nashville and other cities of size a run for there money. This is the infrastructure that Birmingham needs to lure companies and people to grow its population and further increase its tax base.

P.S Have any of Langfords ideas not been passed, he's moving so fast I can't keep up with what he had planned?

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The city council voted today 6-0 passing the tax increase to fund the dome stadium, transit system, and education. This is a big victory for Langford and Birmingham; I can't believe he was able to get this much done in such a short period of time. It's amazing what a mayor with this much energy can do! This man has done more in one month what Kincaid did during his entire term. Kincaid took credit for the condo developments downtown, which would have happened with anybody in office. I think between this dome/hotel/new convention space, the new park system and hopefully the restored trolley network we will give Nashville and other cities of size a run for there money. This is the infrastructure that Birmingham needs to lure companies and people to grow its population and further increase its tax base.

P.S Have any of Langfords ideas not been passed, he's moving so fast I can't keep up with what he had planned?

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Langford's 1st draft showed $17 million from an estimated $36 million in new annual revenue from doubling business license fees being used to free up Federal grants for a total of $25 million in recurring funding.

Later drafts given to the council, presumably to correct major errors in the original one-page summary, reduced the amount proposed for transit improvements to $9 million per year out of an estimated $28 million in new annual revenue from doubling business license fees.

Also, according to Langford, the money would go to a new proposed "Birmingham Rail and Transit Authority", controlled by the Mayor's office, rather than to the existing BJCTA.

As with many of Langford's initiatives, the more you learn the stupider it sounds. Here are a couple of links:

* Birmingham News: "Birmingham City Council might postpone action on Mayor Larry Langford's plan to increase taxes, fees"

* Birmingham Weekly: "War on Dumb"

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I agree, some of his plans are quite loofy. However, since the initiative has now passed and will go into effect come Janaury 1, I will take a wait-and-see approach on this. He seems to want to improve the transit system, and with him appearing at the BJCTA meeting yesterday I think he realizes this is very important aspect of the infustructure that needs fixing.

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You're very right. Cause, as it is, I don't think anyone knows what's going to happen when all of this takes effect. I know he realizes the important, but, the money also has to be correctly allocated.

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I seriously don't think a dome is a good idea.. if you're gonna raise taxes which I don't believe in... make good use of the money.. revamp the police force with top of the line crime fighting equipment and training. Infrastructure needs major work! I would mention revamping the schools with computers but I hate to say it.. that is a waste of time... the city will end up spending millions for computers that will need to be replaced in a couple of years. maybe I'm wrong but, instead of just handing out scholarships to poor kids we could just encourage them enough to earn the scholarships? government run schools are just a bad idea in my opinion sorry for ranting...

now larry wants an aquarium as if the southeast doesnt have enough..and build a mega mall..similar to the mall of america.. yikes. could yall just imagine a structure as big as 108 football fields sitting empty?

I'm out yall

Craig

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The more I think about, the more I think that building a 60,000 seat dome is just plain dumb right now, ESPECIALLY if it gets built out on John Rogers Drive instead of downtown.

If you've passed the taxes to issue $500 million in bonds, what about doing this instead?

Invest $200 million in completely overhauling Legion Field with new locker rooms/luxury boxes/seating/facade and parking. Spend $150 million on a new 25,000 seat arena for the BJCC with enough floor space for major conventions/trade shows. Put another $100 million into a new AA/AAA baseball park next to the Railroad Reservation Park downtown and bring back the Barons. Then divide the remaining $50 million between the zoo's proposed new exhibits, Sloss furnace's proposed new welcome center, and Rickwood Field's proposed museum and renovations.

For the same amount that it would take to build a huge white elephant in the outskirts of town that would be used (MAYBE) 12 times a year, you could make a huge impact on Legion Field, the BJCC, the RR Park, Sloss, Vulcan and the Zoo and do a heck of a lot more good for the city.

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The more I think about, the more I think that building a 60,000 seat dome is just plain dumb right now, ESPECIALLY if it gets built out on John Rogers Drive instead of downtown.

If you've passed the taxes to issue $500 million in bonds, what about doing this instead?

Invest $200 million in completely overhauling Legion Field with new locker rooms/luxury boxes/seating/facade and parking. Spend $150 million on a new 25,000 seat arena for the BJCC with enough floor space for major conventions/trade shows. Put another $100 million into a new AA/AAA baseball park next to the Railroad Reservation Park downtown and bring back the Barons. Then divide the remaining $50 million between the zoo's proposed new exhibits, Sloss furnace's proposed new welcome center, and Rickwood Field's proposed museum and renovations.

For the same amount that it would take to build a huge white elephant in the outskirts of town that would be used (MAYBE) 12 times a year, you could make a huge impact on Legion Field, the BJCC, the RR Park, Sloss, Vulcan and the Zoo and do a heck of a lot more good for the city.

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I take everything I've said so far back. I like that idea better. :)

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I am just excited to see Birmingham city goverment finally doing something progressive. One thing that the city seems to kinda have at the moment is a "vision". It may not be perfect, but it is definitely better than what is currently there. It is good that with Mayor Langford, unlike the previous administration, is putting forth an effort to dissolve some of the issues of the city, dispite several possible obstacles that he may face trying to do so. With the developments going on downtown, and the effort to revitalize some of the areas around town, with this "vision" I think Birmingham is moving in the right direction. Now, all the area needs is regional unity among municipal goverments. Birmingham is the core city of the region, and I feel that without the regional support it deserves, it will never reach its potential and compete against Nashville, Charlotte, Louisville, or other larger MSA areas of the south but rather against smaller areas such as Montgomery, Mobile, or Baton Rouge. Also, what is the timeline for the completion of I-22 if anyone knows?

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The more I think about, the more I think that building a 60,000 seat dome is just plain dumb right now, ESPECIALLY if it gets built out on John Rogers Drive instead of downtown.

If you've passed the taxes to issue $500 million in bonds, what about doing this instead?

Invest $200 million in completely overhauling Legion Field with new locker rooms/luxury boxes/seating/facade and parking. Spend $150 million on a new 25,000 seat arena for the BJCC with enough floor space for major conventions/trade shows. Put another $100 million into a new AA/AAA baseball park next to the Railroad Reservation Park downtown and bring back the Barons. Then divide the remaining $50 million between the zoo's proposed new exhibits, Sloss furnace's proposed new welcome center, and Rickwood Field's proposed museum and renovations.

For the same amount that it would take to build a huge white elephant in the outskirts of town that would be used (MAYBE) 12 times a year, you could make a huge impact on Legion Field, the BJCC, the RR Park, Sloss, Vulcan and the Zoo and do a heck of a lot more good for the city.

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I am just excited to see Birmingham city goverment finally doing something progressive. One thing that the city seems to kinda have at the moment is a "vision". It may not be perfect, but it is definitely better than what is currently there. It is good that with Mayor Langford, unlike the previous administration, is putting forth an effort to dissolve some of the issues of the city, dispite several possible obstacles that he may face trying to do so. With the developments going on downtown, and the effort to revitalize some of the areas around town, with this "vision" I think Birmingham is moving in the right direction. Now, all the area needs is regional unity among municipal goverments. Birmingham is the core city of the region, and I feel that without the regional support it deserves, it will never reach its potential and compete against Nashville, Charlotte, Louisville, or other larger MSA areas of the south but rather against smaller areas such as Montgomery, Mobile, or Baton Rouge. Also, what is the timeline for the completion of I-22 if anyone knows?

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The interchange is supposed to be finish around 2012, maybe even sooner in 2010. The latter is when the governor wants it to be finished. I hope it gets finished sooner. The lane shifts on I-65 that is in northern Birmingham are supposed to be there for two years, wow....

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