Apartments, condos and shopping centers: They all bring more people to Tuscaloosa. People who use the city’s roads, water and sewers. And the city wants help from developers to pay for that use.
That was one topic up for discussion at Tuesday’s Tuscaloosa City Council Finance Committee meeting.
The finance committee recommended enacting an impact service fee for multi-family attached houses such as duplexes, apartments and condos. Money from the fee would be used for maintaining the city’s water and sewer systems, along with public safety.
City officials said that since 2005, Tuscaloosa’s population has grown more than 18 percent.
“It’s a fee that most communities in the nation applies,” said Tuscaloosa City Councilwoman Cynthia Almond. “We have not done that, and so we’re trying to play catch up a little bit. Most developers who develop here expect to pay it.”
Discussions continue about the service fees in two public hearings May 9 and May 16.
In other City Council News:
Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox says he wants to increase the role tourism plays in the city’s economy.
Maddox met with the Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports Commission Tuesday, saying the economy is changing and the city should be changing with it. Relying on big box stores for the city’s capital isn’t feasible anymore.
“I think (we should be) looking at what we can do to utilize our tourism and sports commission to not only do those functions, but expand in creating events and promotions that gets people here to Tuscaloosa to spend money,” Maddox said. “I think it’s going to be critical.”
The tourism and sports commission office has three open positions at the moment. A search for a new CEO is getting underway, but the other two positions will remain unfilled for the time being.
About 60 teenagers are benefiting from the Hope Initiative Summer Jobs Program this summer.
The seven-week long program targeting teens and young adults living in Hope Initiative zones will focus on team building, money management, personal character and career planning. Those zones include Rosedale Court, Forester Gardens, Downing Place, Creekwood Village, John England Manor and Hay Court, Beech Street, East Tuscaloosa, University Manor and Alberta.