Open Letter concerning recently passed tax and bond issue for schools and city projects, Nov. 29, 2016

Bob Echols, center, sits with neighbors who objected to writing a "blank check" to the schools with little study or public deliberation to support it. The school board violated its own policies by accepting the unpaid land use study by B.L. Harbert, one resident said. All complained that a regressive "forever" sales tax was being passed to support a project with a finite set of expenses.

Bob Echols, center, sits with family who objected to writing a “blank check” to the schools with little study or public deliberation to support it. The school board violated its own policies by accepting the unpaid land use study by B.L. Harbert, one resident said. All complained that a regressive “forever” sales tax was being passed to support a project with a finite set of expenses.

The “open letter” imaged here (and pdf link, below) has been posted on various sites around Homewood following the momentous passage of a penny sales tax and $110 million bond issue to help finance schools and parks facilities for a growing population of children in Homewood. The vote followed what city leaders called a 21-month period of concerted work and deliberation, apparently across three boards (council, education and parks & rec) and the mayor’s office, without public meetings or disclosure. The mayor, in congratulating the council for its leadership on behalf of Homewood children, said the 21-month effort probably “escaped public notice.”

letterhwcitizensIn fact, those deliberations took place in a way to avoid public detection, either by the voters or by those who campaigned for council, who say they had no idea about the tax and bond plans leading up to the August municipal election. The Board of Education made its first public presentation in September, outlining plans to expand four of its five schools and relocate the high school to West Oxmoor Road, on land already purchased by the city for $4.5 million.

letterhwcitizensp2The open letter distributed today calls for an open forum of city leaders to answer a series of questions developed about how the money will be allocated now that the decision to tax and borrow has already been made, and how the decisions themselves were reached. It includes contact information for the council to get the conversations started. (Calls and emails might also be placed to the city attorney, Mike Kendrick, Mayor Scott McBrayer, parks chief Berkley Squires and park board chairman Chris Meeks.) The school board’s contact information is on its website, along with the land study leading up to the September presentation:  http://www.homewood.k12.al.us/?DivisionID=22205&ToggleSideNav=ShowAll

President – Bruce Limbaugh bruce@limbaughtoyota.com

Ward 1 – Britt Thames bthames1@gmail.com

Andy Gwaltney – andy@andygwaltney.com

Ward 2 – Mike Higginbotham –  higginbotham@realtysouth.com

Andrew Wolverton – Andrew.j.wolverton@gmail.com

Ward 3 – Patrick McClusky –mccluskycc@yahoo.com

Walter Jones – walter.jones@homewoodal.net

Ward 4 – Barry Smith  barryandkyle1@charter.net

Alex Wyatt – awyattcc@gmail.com

Ward 5 – Peter Wright – pwright@sirote.com

Jennifer Andress – andressk@bellsouth.net

Click here for a pdf file of the letter.

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One response to “Open Letter concerning recently passed tax and bond issue for schools and city projects, Nov. 29, 2016

  1. Well said – I hope that our City Leaders will be open about the allocation of the money and TRUST us to support the best plan possible for our city, especially our schools. Thanks!

    Like

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