Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato proposes tax increases to help with budget crisis

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When Hoover, Ala. Mayor Frank Brocato started looking at the city’s budget, he knew he wanted to make cuts to help to bring expenses in line with revenues, while still meeting the cities needs. But during the Hoover City Council meeting on Monday, June 4, the self-claimed fiscal conservative explained in addressing the city’s multi-million dollar budget deficit, he’s realized for the first time in almost a quarter century, a tax increase is needed.

Brocato announced he would like to boost the city’s sales and use tax, as well as the lease/rental tax to 4 percent. He’d also like to increase the city’s lodging tax to 6 percent. The Mayor estimates this move would generate approximately $20 million in additional revenue for the cash-strapped city.

“We can’t continue to be a great city unless we are willing to pay for the great things that we have and the excellent things we aspire to have,” Brocato explained.

According to the HooverSun, here’s how Brocato proposes to spend the additional revenue:

  • $11 million per year would go to eliminate future deficits, generate funds for routine capital improvements, and attract and retain quality employees.

  • $4 million per year would go to Hoover schools, boosting total city contributions to the school system to $11.1 million per year, including $9 million cash and $2.1 million to pay for school resource officers. The additional money should cover $36.4 million in school capital projects, including classroom additions at Berry Middle School, Riverchase Elementary, Bluff Park Elementary and Gwin Elementary, demolition of parts of the old Bluff Park Elementary and renovation of other parts, plus $15 million in paving and roofing projects, Brocato said. The school system also could use the money to help cover operating costs, he said.$22 million would cover the city’s match needed to obtain $110 million in federal money to build a new interchange near South Shades Crest Road along Interstate 459 and improve the exit at John Hawkins Parkway.

  • $22.3 million would go to build a new fine and performing arts center, and $1 million a year would go toward the center’s operating costs.

  • $20 million would be spent to provide land, building site preparation, utilities, construction and traffic improvements for a $300 million project that will bring more than 1,000 jobs to Hoover. Brocato said confidentiality agreements prevent him from disclosing the company right now, but it is not a retail company. An announcement about the development should come in 30 to 60 days, he said. “It’s something that will fundamentally change Hoover for the better. We can’t afford to miss out on this opportunity.”

  • $1.7 million would be used to build a Hoover Public Library branch in eastern Hoover, and $700,000 per year would go toward the branch’s operating costs.

  • $500,000 per year would go to developing the city’s bicycle and pedestrian paths

  • $450,000 per year would provide a tourism and cultural program to secure the future of Aldridge Gardens and assist with attracting major events to Hoover

Brocato wants the city Council to vote his proposed tax increases July 2.

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