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Gregory Says Property Taxes Not High Enough

At yesterday’s City Council meeting where the 1 cent sales tax increase took center stage, Councilmember Gina Gregory, below, was quoted by WALA Fox 10 as saying, “We don’t have a high enough property tax to support the city. That’s what it boils down to.”  ( Is Councilmember Gregory now supporting increasing property taxes…again?  Based on her past record, we will not be surprised if she votes “YES” for the 1 cent increase in sales tax, even though she says she is not for the “sales tax thing”, and also begins a campaign to increase property taxes.

Councilmember Gina Gregory

Councilmember Gina Gregory

Last year, most of those who live in Councilmember Gregory’s District 7 experienced an increase in their property taxes.  We are utterly amazed that Councilmember Gregory believes that property taxes are still too low.  In fact, our real estate advisors say that property values are declining in the Mobile area. While the losses are not in line with the national average, some home prices are being slashed in order to attract buyers.  Just ride around and look at the commercial buildings for rent, or check the MLS listings and see how prices have been reduced; and pay special attention to how long the properties have been on the market.

In fact, the City of Mobile should “reduce” the current property assessments, so as to be in line with the property’s current value, thus REDUCING the property owner’s tax liability instead of trying to increase them.  But then again, you are asking our City Government to remove a tax.  Remember the Restaurant Tax?

While it does not happen very often, we do agree with something Councilmember Gregory said at yesterday’s meeting.  She said the city needs to be more “efficient”.  We couldn’t agree more.  However, we disagree that outside sources (meaning consultants) are needed to help tell the city how the fix the problems.  After all, every single council member who ran for office did so, on the ability of their leadership skills.  Well, it is about time we saw some of those skills.  If we are going to hire consultants and spend more money, that the city does not have, then why do we need a City Council?

Want to know how to change things at City Hall?  Many years ago, the city routinely used the local universities and colleges to help with specific issues.  We have excellent business departments at these institutions and we feel confident that if asked, they would love the opportunity to show how they can help our community.  The city can tap into a virtual wealth of knowledge with new innovative thinking instead of old, tired ideas that include “tax and spend” schemes that have failed for decades.

However, the best resource is in your employee force.  Has a council member ever gone around to the different departments and asked the opinions of the employees?  I am not talking about a suggestion box or an employee survey, but go to the city garage, buy them a cup of coffee and take a few minutes and listen…and then ask what they would do to fix the problems they see around them.  Visit every department, compile a list of real suggestions…now formulate a plan with a specific timeline in order to reach the goals that have been set.

Rene McPherson, former President of the Dana Corporation, coined a phrase, “Management By Walking Around”.  He required his top managers to spend at least 50% of their time out of the office and out with the work force.  You don’t solve complex problems by sitting behind a desk, or by hiring consultants to do your work for you.  Use the resources around you and do most of the work yourself.

Change is possible, but you have to work at it.  Progress is possible, but you have to be committed.  Success is possible, but only if you work together.

We don’t need a sales tax increase, we need a leadership increase!

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