Mobile County Commissioner Connie Hudson is asking city councilors to table a planned vote on whether to withdrawal all police and fire services from Mobile’s three-mile police jurisdiction, which the city is currently spending millions to provide in the fast-growing area of the county.
In a letter sent to Mobile City Council President Levon Manzie Monday, Hudson laid out several concerns she had with a proposed ordinance introduced by Councilman Joel Daves last week that seeks to roll back all of the services the city provides outside its corporate limits by Jan. 1, 2022.
She asked councilors to delay voting on the ordinance “until the city can present factual information to prove that the action is in the best interest of the city of Mobile.” She also suggested that figures city officials have released about the cost of providing services in the police jurisdiction have been inflated.
She said the county believes “the revenue received by the city from the police jurisdiction actually offsets the cost of the services provided.” Hudson noted that Finance Director Dana Foster-Allen is working to calculate the number of service calls that occur in the police jurisdiction and what they cost the city.
“According to financial information researched and compiled by the Mobile County Finance Department, there would be very minimal or no cost savings realistically generated by withdrawing the police jurisdiction to the corporate limits of Mobile,” Hudson wrote. “According to the Alabama Department of Public Examiners, the city currently receives $12.2 million in total extraterritorial revenue. The city’s cost of services (based on information provided by the city: totaling $26.6 million) appears unrealistically inflated. The cost includes increased percentages charged in city departments and outside agencies, i.e. the mayor’s office, City Council offices, the Personnel Board, the Mobile County Health Department and others that will not experience a cost reduction unless across-the-board personnel reductions are implemented.”
Hudson also questioned whether rolling back the police jurisdiction aligns with the city’s long-term goals for urban development or a “knee jerk reaction” to November’s failed annexation vote.
Though similar proposals have come before the council before, the most recent proposal to roll back the police jurisdiction comes after an effort to annex 13,000 new residents from an unincorporated area of West Mobile into the city failed last month.
While a majority of councilors voted in support of the effort, an annexation vote requires a supermajority of at least five members to be approved and failed in a 4-3 split along racial lines. Only the four white councilors voted in favor of the proposal. The council’s three black members voted in opposition.
For the better part of the past two decades, the population is the city of Mobile has been declining,” Hudson wrote. “Is that acceptable and is it a consideration in reducing the Police Jurisdiction? Short-term decisions can potentially undermine the long-term needs and objectives of the city of Mobile.”
You can read Hudson’s full letter to Manzie below. So far, no councilors have responded.
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