Some Common Cents for June 23rd, 2017

June 26, 2017, by John Norris

This is sort of part one in an intermittent series.

Recently, I received an email with a link to a study about the need for a consolidated form of government in the Birmingham metro area (MSA). For those of you not familiar with Birmingham, most of the suburbs have incorporated themselves. All of them have their own fire and police departments, and the larger, wealthier ones have their own school systems. Some of these cities/suburbs, have been around for a long time, with mine having incorporated itself back in 1942. As a result, while we all live in “Birmingham,” most of us actually live in other cities or towns, most of them with their own separate identities.

To that end, the population of the City of Birmingham (the City) only makes up less than one-fifth of the population of the entire MSA, and even less of the larger still consolidated statistical area (CSA). As for Birmingham’s media market, the City constitutes only about one-seventh, from the numbers I have read.

Obviously, and admittedly, this means there is a fair amount of duplication of effort and inefficiency in the delivery of public services across the MSA, let alone a lack of coordination in business development efforts. As for the latter, it isn’t uncommon for suburban cities to ‘duke it out’ for retail and local business relocations. After all, it doesn’t benefit, say, Trussville when a new Walmart, or something, opens in Pelham or Gardendale. In fact, you could sensibly argue it potentially hurts it economically. …Read More…

The opinions expressed within this report are those of John Norris as of the initial publication of this blog. They are subject to change without notice, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oakworth Capital Bank, its directors, shareholders, and employees.