One state senator says he wants to end jurisdictions that extend outside city limits. These are places people are policed, regulated and taxed without getting a say at the ballot box.
"It's time for this to go away," said Sen. Chris Elliott (R-Baldwin County).
Statewide, cities and towns are allowed to have these areas called police and extraterritorial jurisdictions. Areas that can extend three miles outside the city limits where the municipality collects taxes and regulates things like zoning and subdivision planning. In exchange, people living there pay a reduced rate for services, like police and fire protection.
"I think what you'll find is people in the city saying why are we subsidizing these services outside the city? If you want to be in the city and receive services, annex in. And I think you'll see people in the county saying we don't want to be policed by a city council that we can't vote for. We'd rather you just leave us alone, thank you very much," said Elliott.
Elliott plans to introduce a bill this session that would eliminate these jurisdictions.
"We're the largest municipality this would impact, "said Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson.
Stimpson says he'll be watching the issue closely. Right now, even though the city collects $12 million annually in taxes and fees in its police jurisdiction, the city says it loses $14 million offering police and fire services. Council member Joel Daves introduced a bill last week that would roll back police and fire protection in the police jurisdiction, which could become a moot point if Elliott's bill passes.
"The bill that I'll introduce will have a twist on it from last year, which will give counties and the citizens that live outside the cities a right to vote whether or not they'd like to keep police and extraterritorial jurisdictions," said Elliott.
Elliott hopes adding that vote to the bill will be the key to passage this year. Last year his bill to end this practice died in the House.