Thursday, September 07, 2006

Jefferson's Loss Is St. Clair's Gain

Saks is gone. Red Diamond is gone, too. Jefferson County can't seem to keep anybody.

I can't say that I blame them, either.

Politicians will spend millions to attract Wal-Mart to an area, but when it comes to keeping a company that has been based in Birmingham for over 100 years... Well, they don't seem to matter as much.

Jefferson County Commissioners Sheila Smoot and Bettye Fine Collins are the culprits with this one. They refused to sell the land that Red Diamond requested for an expansion. The deal wasn't bad, either. Red Diamond had offered more than twice what the land was worth and also offered to clean up the property to meet EPA standards on their own dime. The reason why these two didn't want to sell? They wanted more money. The excuse was that it would cost them more than $3 million to move the county fleet, which was sitting on the property up for sale.

So now, Red Diamond is leaving, and the people of Jefferson County are the losers in this situation. I wonder how much tax revenue they will lose as a result. I'm willing to bet that the $3 million loss doesn't look so big anymore.

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