Mayor’s batting average worth noting

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 17, 2003

There has been a bit of

second guessing as of late in the city of Pelham.

A few very well-intentioned residents and business owners are

concerned that the tax

incentive plan recently approved by the city for

developer AIG Baker is just too big.

As background, AIG Baker is developing the 800,000 square-foot Hayes Market Place shopping center in the City of Pelham.

The contentious element of the incentive package is that the developer will reap 50 percent of the city’s 3-cent sales tax generated by the shopping center for the next 30 years.

If estimates hold true, the developer’s cut could be worth over $2.5 million each year.

And that’s a big number.

But Pelham Mayor Bobby Hayes and the Pelham City Council are convinced that the rewards of offering the incentive package far outweigh any possible negatives.

The rewards, so say the mayor and council, are jobs, increased tax revenue and first rate shopping for the citizens of Pelham without driving to another city.

The role of a citizen is to question governmental actions with which they have concern; that is what has happened in this instance and for good measure.

However, before making any judgments about the quality of the city of Pelham’s decision one should consider the city’s track record of success.

A few examples:

The Racquet Club.

The Pelham Racquet Club was named the top such facility in the nation for the year 2002 by a national Tennis association adding credence to the idea that the city made a good decision.

Building tennis facilities is not out of the norm for cities the size of Pelham but not every city would have had the vision to build a facility of world class caliber.

Pelham did and it worked.

Oak Mountain Amphitheater.

This top-notch facility draws people (and their pocket books) from all over the state to Pelham and Shelby County.

Most every city looks for ways to add entertainment venues to their municipal facilities, but most would never imagine a facility that could draw world-class entertainment right to its backdoor.

Pelham did and it worked.

Pelham Civic Complex.

Providing civic facilities for its citizens is a common mission among cities of Pelham’s size.

But building a facility with 17,000 square feet of meeting space and two professional-size hockey rinks is a bit more ambitious than most cities would dare dream.

Pelham did and it worked.

Now, the City of Pelham has offered an incentive package to a developer.

Perhaps some other cities might have offered a less aggressive incentive plan; perhaps some other cities offered a less attractive plan this time.

The city of Pelham decided to do as it always does, to put its best foot forward.

This time it came in the form of offering an incentive plan they believed would be necessary to draw the developer to Pelham.

Pelham did and it worked.

In the end, Mayor Hayes and the Pelham City Council have a long list of accomplishments and a batting average that would have kept the Atlanta Braves in the playoffs this year.

The mayor and council have provided visionary leadership over the years and are continuing to do so today.