Photos courtesy of the candidates
Trey Lott Curt Posey
Trey Lott and Curt Posey face off in a runoff for Hoover City Council Place 1 on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2016.
While almost all of the Hoover municipal election races were settled on Aug. 23, one City Council race remains to be decided.
On Oct. 4, former Hoover Councilman and Greystone resident Trey Lott will face political newcomer and Bluff Park resident Curt Posey in a runoff for Hoover Council Place 1.
Posey was the top vote getter for that race in the Aug. 23 election, capturing 5,256 votes, or 41.2 percent of the total votes cast, compared to 5,176 votes, or 40.6 percent, for Lott.
Joe Rives, who was appointed to the City Council in February 2015 to replace Lott, came in third with 2,321 votes, or 18 percent of the total, and thus did not make the runoff. Rives opted not to endorse either Posey or Lott.
Posey said he has been running on a platform of change and will be better suited to work with the new mayor and new council members than Lott, who often voted in concert with the current council on recommendations from outgoing Mayor Gary Ivey’s administration.
Three current council members — John Greene, John Lyda and Gene Smith — were re-elected Aug. 23, so there are only three new faces coming to the council so far. Posey said he could be the fourth vote needed to create real change.
“I don’t think we need to change everything,” Posey said, adding that he thinks city leaders can do some things better. The main thing is to be thoughtful, ask questions and look for the best long-term solutions, he said. A long-term master plan is needed, especially for land use, development, traffic and schools, he said.
Lott has said the city needs someone in Place 1 who has had experience in city government because the city is losing a lot of experience with the death of Councilman Brian Skelton and the decision by councilmen Jack Wright and Jack Natter not to run for re-election.
Lott said his highest priority is to invest in public safety. He also wants to find long-term financial solutions to support Hoover City Schools, maintain outstanding city services such as park and recreation offerings and the city library, and improve council communication with the public.
Lott and Posey have different ideas about the best way to address financial issues related to Hoover schools.
The Hoover City Council in 2004, which included Lott, voted to quit giving Hoover schools 16 percent of the city’s sales tax revenues after learning the Hoover school system would get a one-time influx of $85.6 million in cash from a Jefferson County bond issue.
The city’s budget was tight, and city officials decided to give a lesser amount to schools.
Between 2009 and 2014, that amount was $2 million a year. In 2015, the amount was $2.3 million, compared to $11.5 million under the old funding formula. Cumulatively, between 2002 and 2015, city funding cuts cost the school system more than $78 million.
School officials have been trimming back their expenses but are about to be hit with large increases in debt payments and have capital projects that need funding.
Lott has said he doesn’t believe the school system has financial problems now, but it will in the future if something is not done to raise more money. He favors raising sales taxes by 1 percentage point to raise up to $20 million a year. However, Lott said the city needs to get input from the school board and public to determine how much of that should go to schools, and he favors a citywide vote on the tax increase.
Posey is against a sales tax increase, saying it will hurt Hoover’s competitiveness with other cities. Instead, he wants to divert money from the city’s capital projects fund for the next couple of years to help schools and then start using revenues from the new sports complex to support schools.