Amendment to clarify county spending on November ballot

Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 3:22 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - In 20 days, voters will be able to decide who they want to be in offices around the state. There will also be ten amendments on the ballot, and supporters say amendment seven will help with local economic development.

Currently, municipalities can’t give a thing of value to individuals or entities. However, the 2004 Economic Development Exception allows counties and municipalities to give a thing of value “for the purpose of promoting the economic and industrial development of the county or the municipality” if certain procedures are followed.

A ‘yes’ vote on amendment seven will apply technical changes to this exception.

  • The amendment will make sure this economic development exception applies equally to all counties and cities, regardless of their separate local constitutional amendments.
  • It will clarify that obligations under the exception, except for general obligation bonds, are exempt from parts of the Alabama Constitution that would otherwise require holding a local bond referendum.
  • Changes counties from notifying the “largest” newspaper in circulation in the county, to simply requiring that the notice be published in a paper “in circulation” in the county.
  • Actions under the Economic Development Exception will be confirmed unless they are currently involved in litigation.

This amendment is a priority item for the Association of County Commissions of Alabama.

“[It’s] complicated, but very important for us to know that all counties can be on the same footing in economic development. So that every county in Alabama has an equal chance to attract new industry to improve jobs and to enhance the quality of life,” said Sonny Brasfield, executive director of the association.

According to ACCA, 31 counties have adopted resolutions supporting Amendment Seven and Amendment Two. Those are; Autauga, Baldwin, Barbour, Bibb, Blount, Bullock, Calhoun, Cherokee, Choctaw, Colbert, Coosa, Covington, Dallas, Elmore, Escambia, Etowah, Franklin, Hale, Henry, Houston, Jackson, Jefferson, Lauderdale, Lee, Limestone, Marion, Marshall, Monroe, Morgan, Pickens and Russell counties.

And 16 counties plan to adopt similar resolutions; Chambers, Clarke, Coffee, Conecuh, Crenshaw, Cullman, Dale, Lowndes, Mobile, Montgomery, Pike, Randolph, St. Clair, Sumter, Talladega and Wilcox counties.

The full text of Amendment Seven is available through the Alabama Secretary of State’s website.

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