Photo courtesy of Jason DeLuca
Jason DeLuca is running for the Hoover City Council in 2016.
Jason DeLuca, a new resident of Hoover’s Green Valley community and a Hoover hotelier, announced today he is running for the Hoover City Council.
DeLuca, who moved into the Country Club Highlands area of Green Valley in May of last year, said he has been perplexed by recent moves by city officials and wants to provide residents a greater voice in city government.
For example, Hoover Mayor Gary Ivey in July of last year proposed raising the city’s lodging tax from 3 percent to 6 percent and the overall lodging tax rate in the city from 14 percent to 17 percent to help raise money for capital projects, but hotel operators were not consulted beforehand, DeLuca said. After hoteliers strongly objected, Ivey backed off the plan before the council could vote on it.
Then in December, the City Council voted 6-1 to build a $70 million sports complex next to Hoover Metropolitan Stadium with only four days notice to the public before the vote, and even then city officials were hesitant to comment on the project before the day of the vote.
DeLuca said the Sportsplex sounds like it will be an amazing facility that will be good for Hoover, but he thinks the public should have been given more time to provide input on the facility before the vote was taken. He questions the lack of public discussion before major decisions are being made.
Third, the city of Hoover’s contribution to Hoover schools remained stagnant at $2 million a year between fiscal 2009 and fiscal 2014, while the school system struggled with budget deficits, DeLuca said. “They’re bleeding out. They’re slowly dwindling their funds,” he said. “It’s something that’s got to be tackled.”
The council’s decision in December to expand school funding by an estimated $1.3 million or $1.5 million a year was a step in the right direction, but the city should do more to help schools, DeLuca said.
DeLuca, general manager for the Homewood Suites by Hilton in Inverness, said his business experience, including dealing with budgets and capital projects, helps make him a good candidate for the City Council.
DeLuca, 31, said he has been working in the hotel business since he was 17. He was an assistant manager while he was in college. He graduated from Auburn University in Montgomery with a bachelor’s degree in management in 2008 and served as general manager of the Fairfield Inn by Marriott in Inverness from 2009 to 2011. He then managed the Homewood Suites in Montgomery from 2011 to 2014 before moving to the Homewood Suites by Hilton in Inverness. Hotel Management magazine named him a “General Manager to Watch” in 2014.
While working in Montgomery, DeLuca started the River Region Hotel Olympics, a team-building competition between hotels that involved games but also collected three tons of food for the Central Alabama Food Bank.
DeLuca also is involved with the Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Hoover Metro Kiwanis Club. He was on the ballot for a seat on the Alabama Republican Party Executive Committee in 2014. He lost that race but was appointed to the state Executive Committee by the Shelby County Republican Party, for which he served as secretary. He is the former secretary for the Greater Birmingham Young Republicans and has been involved with the Young Republican Federation of Alabama and serves as an adult advisor for the Greater Birmingham Teenage Republicans.
DeLuca is originally from Florida but also lived for a while in Prattville. He and his wife, April, lived in Calera for six years before moving to Hoover last year. He hopes voters won’t pick council members based on the length of time they have lived in Hoover, but rather based on their qualifications and what they will do, he said.
DeLuca is seeking Place 6 on the City Council now held by Brian Skelton. Ross Bridge resident Casey Middlebrooks is seeking the same seat. The city election is Aug. 23.
This article was updated on June 30 to indicate that DeLuca is seeking Place 6 on the City Council.