Hoover happening in Shelby County?

Published 11:27 am Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Hoover Mayor Tony Petelos said Tuesday that although he doesn’t support the idea of de-annexing Hoover from Jefferson County and fully into Shelby County just yet, he’d be interested in pursuing the idea if the Jefferson County financial crisis continues.

On Monday, while speaking to the Friends of Hoover, Petelos asked how they would feel about a de-annexation. Nearly all of the organization’s members showed interest in the idea, Petelos said.

“What I was trying to show (at the meeting) is the fact that citizens of Hoover are tired of the mess we’re in, in Jefferson County,” he said. “I just put that out there to see what kind of response that would get. The people in our community want some changes and they want some changes now.”

Jefferson County is currently facing a $3.2 billion sewer debt, which is growing by the day.

The county has not declared bankruptcy or hired a county manager, which Petelos disagrees with. He said it’s been a year since the Jefferson County Commission said the county could no longer afford to pay down the debt, and it’s time for the commissioners to come to grips with that reality.

“We have added hundreds of millions of dollars of new debt and late fees, and the financial market has collapsed around us,” he said. “They need to realize we are bankrupt. Congress isn’t going to bail them out. The Legislature isn’t going to bail them out. They just need to file for bankruptcy and get it over with.”

Since speaking at Monday’s meeting, Petelos has received many phone calls and e-mails, all in support of the de-annexation idea.

In order to change the boundary lines so that all of Hoover is in Shelby County, Hoover citizens would have to first vote on a resolution to do so. Then the legislature and the governor would have to approve the resolution.

Petelos said he wasn’t sure if there would have to be a constitutional amendment for the de-annexation to occur.

The next few months are crucial to deciding if he wants to move forward with the idea, he said.

“Ask me in four months, and if we’re still dealing with (the debt) and we still don’t have a county manager, am I serious? Absolutely,” Petelos said.