MONEY ON THE TABLE

MONEY ON THE TABLE

It is no secret that the Fairhope City Council is CATALYST through and through. It is also well documented that the council opposes, procrastinates or just refuses anything the Mayor may propose. Even projects that have been previously endorsed by the council, are delayed or canceled by the council.

After 3 and half years, The Fairhope Waterfront Project is finally on the drawing board. This $6.2 million project has had a wealth of planning and public participation. In the work session, prior to the council meeting, a detailed, 48 min presentation was given to the council.

Timing is important with the permitting phase of this project and the council was asked to give some guidance or the OK to proceed. The mayor was passionate about the project, however it fell on deaf ears.

“The council took no immediate action on the plan but will likely revisit it during a council meeting at a later date.“

The next meeting is May 11th, another delay and money on the table.

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The CATALYST Council then refused to consider the Mayor’s Marketing plan for all businesses in Fairhope. The Mayor wished to hire a marketing firm and come up with a helpful strategy for Fairhope business owners who have experienced severe financial difficulties during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Included was a plan to welcome tourist back to Fairhope.

To finance the $65,000 proposal the Mayor suggested raising the lodging tax from 6% to 7%, which is paid by tourists, and implement a ½ cent gas tax. Fairhope is the only municipality that does not have a gas tax where the average is 1%.

The CATALYST council refused to accept either proposal, leaving the MONEY ON THE TABLE.

Please remember it was the council that endorsed and pushed a $3,000,000 school tax. They refused to listen to the Mayor who had a plan to finance the same $3,000,000, without a tax.

The council refused and the taxpayers got blindsided by politics.

The Mayor also suggested that annual payments made to the Hatch program and Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance should be appropriations. The Mayor has supported Hatch program from the beginning.

The Council rejected the idea without any suggestions, except to have a wait and see approach.

The City of Fairhope annually donates $35,000 to Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance, $15,000 to the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce, which represents the whole Eastern Shore, and $21,000 to the Downtown Business Association. The latter two are member based.

In the end the council rejected any help to the business community instead reinforced it’s position with BCEDA, who’s 35,000 will most likely go to executive salary or payroll for BCEDA.

What irony the CATALYST council turns down economic development for Fairhope businesses’ in order to give it to Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance to allegedly promote Economic Development. BECDA most likely will use the funds for salaries, that is not helping business.

Think that is stupid? Then consider this. The Council will not support the Mayor and the Marketing Plan for $65,000 but they did support:

1. Raising their salary and full family insurance for the entire council, approximately $125,000.

2. Councilman Burrell, Brown and Boone, the 3 B’s, without public participation, purchased 2.65 million for recreation land then leased it for 9000 a year. Fairhope desperately needs that money now. The council has no plan and no money for development of this property. This deal stinks of CATALYST.

3. The CATALYST council has made repeated efforts to give away the Triangle property that cost taxpayers 13 million in a legal settlement. Beware they will try it again before municipal elections.

4. The CATALYST council paid 2.5 million for the K-1 Center, Fairhope Community Park and the Nix Center. They however allowed nothing for immediate repairs and have elected to put a temporary roof on the K-1 Center and have no renovation plans, or money, for the properties.

5. The CATALYST council, especially, the great negotiator, Burrell, have spent over half a million dollars on the clock property, the final price may exceed $600,000.00 for 1000 sq, feet of property. Burrell, and council oppose spending $65,000 for Fairhope business interest while ignoring the trillions the federal government is spending to protect business and employees.

6. Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance, BCEDA, is run by Lee Lawson, brother in law to Mayor Dane Haygood and very close friend of Burrell, all are CATALYST, “Status Quo” players. CATALYST taking care of CATALYST.

This is the same council that now rejects a $65,000 economic plan for the businesses in Fairhope. The Mayor has a plan and how to pay for it.

The council has no plan except to oppose the Mayor and leave the MONEY ON THE TABLE.

Folks in Fairhope had better get rid of this CATALYST council, especially Burrell, before they dig a hole so deep that citizens cannot get out.

The above major issues were dwarfed by the attention the CATALYST council gave to opening the Quail Creek Golf Course.

That’s right the golf course opening is more important than the Marketing Plan or the Waterfront Project.

In an angry outburst, Burrell blamed the Mayor for closing the golf course. What he did not explain is that the council could have opened the golf course anytime they wished, they just dropped the ball and wanted to blame the Mayor for their lack of action. The Mayor closed the course for public health concerns.

Leaving the MONEY ON THE TABLE, and doing nothing, will cost Fairhope, more in the end