By Ingrid Howard
Twenty-two Jefferson County mayors signed a pledge this month to work together to foster economic development rather than competing against each other for businesses.
Mayors for Homewood, Hoover, Vestavia Hills and Mountain Brook joined 18 other mayors in the new pact to stop poaching businesses from each other and, instead, put their efforts toward pursuing long-term economic growth for the region.
Under the “Good Neighbor Pledge,” cities agree that they will not lure businesses away from other cities in Jefferson County or provide incentives for businesses to move from one city to another.
“In the past, our cities tended to compete rather than cooperate,” Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato said in a statement. “Today, economic development favors metro areas that work together better as a region. While businesses can still choose to relocate in our county, this group of mayors has committed that we won’t try to initiate those moves, and we will focus on a more comprehensive strategy for growth.”
The agreement is a result of conversations that occurred over the past year among members of the Jefferson County Mayors Association. The conversations were facilitated by the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham as part of its effort to foster more regional cooperation and job growth in Jefferson County.
“When one of us gains a business at the expense of one of our neighbors, we’re not creating new jobs or expanding opportunity in the county,” Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said in a statement. “What really serves our citizens is attracting new businesses and helping our existing businesses thrive and expand – accomplishments that create real growth and will ultimately benefit us all.”
In addition to the Over the Mountain cities, other mayors who signed the pledge represent the cities of Argo, Bessemer, Birmingham, Brighton, Center Point, Clay, Fairfield, Graysville, Lipscomb, Midfield, Mulga, Pleasant Grove, Sylvan Springs, Tarrant, Trafford, Trussville, Warrior and West Jefferson.
All Jefferson County mayors have been invited to sign the pledge.